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I, Sith

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Jackie, Jan 10, 2017.

  1. Threadmark: 1
    Jackie

    Jackie Of Ice and Fire

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    I, Sith

    Chapter 1:
    Escape​
    The waiting was always the hardest part of any job, sitting and wondering, waiting for the payout, wondering if you were betrayed and an an Imp agent was on their way instead of the runner. That's what they always were, just jobs. Paychecks, not people. Marks, suckers, fools.

    Attachments got you robbed, killed, or worse, an extended stay in an Imp prison.

    Maybe I was too cynical, but being born as property will do that to a girl, so I'm sure that The Force or whatever other higher power out there would forgive me for my cynicism.

    I licked my lip and couldn't help but smirk behind the cannibalized TIE-Fighter helmet that comprised part of my newest con. The Force might forgive me for my cynicism, but it wouldn't forgive me for the job I was working.

    There's only so much blasphemy that the universe could tolerate, right?

    I cracked my neck and rolled my shoulders, and felt for the cylinder attached to my belt, still there? Good. The next part was going to be more bluffing than skill, more art than science. Fortunately for me I'd learned the art of deception from one of the best.

    “Stop right there! Identify yourself, this is a restricted area!”

    A storm trooper, run of the mill infantry, yet it would be a fatal mistake to assume they were anything less than lethal, certainly more intimidating than a meter and a half of Rutian Twi'lek. But, I had planned for that, experience had taught me as much.

    I clenched my left hand into a fist and pulled that cylinder from my belt into my right hand and squared up to the much taller storm trooper. I set my jaw and fixed him with a glare from behind my own helmet, “What? Do you not recognize your betters when you see one?” I asked with a snarl, amplified by the vocoder in the mouthpiece.

    I rested my thumb against the release catch on the cylinder, if he made me, I'd prove my point. Then again, maybe I'd be better off bringing violence in early, that was like them, wasn't it?

    The trooper started to tense, his hand twitched on the grip of his blaster rifle, he was unsure. He had a job, but he was caught between a rock and a hard place. If he was wrong, it could mean his death.

    I snapped my thumb down on the catch and was rewarded with the snap-hiss of ignition and a red glow that washed over the troopers armor and illuminated the access courtyard, “I do not need to explain myself to you, now let me pass, trooper!”

    The sight of a Sith's lightsaber must have been enough to make up the trooper's mind, as he immediately stood at attention and saluted. “A-Apologies ma'am. You may pass!”

    "Of course I may!" I yelled back, fixing him with a cold stare, though he couldn't see it.

    He sounded a little younger than I'd have thought, but then this was the edge of remnant territory anyway, a backwater. Hardly a place for the more seasoned troopers; they were needed elsewhere.

    And that was just as well for me. A more seasoned trooper might have seen through the deception, might have questioned a little too much and then my entire plan would fall apart.

    I smirked behind the faceplate of my helmet. This was going just fine, after all, it was a backwater, right? Get past the first guard, then make my way to the hanger bay before said guard finally calls me in to his superior and realizes I'm bogus.

    Not that the light saber was a fraud though, that was probably the one part of this whole job that truly was legitimate… even if it wasn't originally mine.

    The job itself was simple, I had to get off of the planet before they realized who I was, that I might keep my freedom.

    The spaceport layout was actually rather simple. The Imperial presence on this world was somewhat minimal, and so the garrison was only a garrison in name. In actuality, they had a couple hangers in an otherwise civilian spaceport, and it was within those hangers that I'd find my salvation.

    My closed fist connected with the lock plate on the side of the pedestrian entrance to the docking bay, Alpha-Twelve, and the bulkhead retracted into the duracrete wall. In front of me, in all their glory, a pair of TIE fighters, in First Order livery.

    I looked at the chronometer set into my wrist-guard, it wouldn't be long before word got back that I wasn't who I said I was, and this whole situation got a lot more complicated. At least, I noted with a glance upwards, this wasn't one of those spaceports where the roof actually retracted after a ship docked.

    On the other hand, there wasn't much, short of star destroyer grade durasteel armor, that was going to stop a fully armed TIE from chewing its way out of a hanger bay.

    That might have looked a little more suspicious than I'd generally like, however.

    So, I strutted across the floor of the docking bay like I owned the place. The confident gait, black, imperial-esque helmet, and the light saber clipped to my hip helped to sell the deception that I belonged there, even if my height and species didn't fit the bill.

    They weren't the empire, not really, but calling them Imperial still seemed to fit. First Order was just like its predecessor in that it gave off the well-earned impression of being a humans only club. To fit in you had to be human, or human enough. Twi'leks didn't really fit the mold, you never saw a storm trooper helmet that lekku could fit in.

    But if we were important enough, force sensitive? They made exceptions. The rest of the time, we were property.

    “Never again,” I muttered under my breath, too quiet for the vocoder to pick up.

    I shook my head slightly, the nearest TIE looked to be a two seater. That meant TIE/SF, that meant shields, hyperdrive. It also meant that there was somebody on this planet who was a lot more important than I thought. Not as important as my old master but…

    It didn't matter, I could worry about that later when I had light-years behind me and not a Sith within fifteen systems of me. After all, my bluff only worked because the trooper believed it, and he only believed it because somebody acting that insane was believable. I'd been lucky in life, luckier than most slaves. Most Sith weren't like mine.

    A quick glance to the side indicated that I was clear for the moment, the initial shock of seeing a sith in the docking bay had worn off, so the troopers and staff did their best to look away and avoid my notice.

    I grabbed onto the boarding ladder and hoisted myself up onto the ball cockpit of the fighter as quickly and as quietly as I could. Everyone in the bay would know what was going on once I started the engines, but by that point it would be too late to stop me.

    The release catch for the boarding hatch was already open, and that suited me just fine. I stuck my fingers under the edge of the hatch and popped it open far enough to squeeze through the gap and dropped myself into the pilot's couch.

    Without a gunner I wouldn't be able use the turret or the launcher, but the engines and forward blasters would work just fine, and if I was lucky I wouldn't need the latter. I grabbed onto the control yoke with my left hand and shifted it around, not locked. I didn't expect it to be but it was always good to check.

    I un-clipped the modified helmet I was using as a disguise and tossed it into the netting alongside the control couch, I wouldn't be needing it, it wasn't airtight anyway. Finding any Imperial issue equipment that fit over Lekku was basically impossible, and I'd grown used to it.

    I pulled the restraints down over my shoulders and clipped them in, then reached up and began to toggle on my auxiliary systems. Battery power, backup life support, ignition pre-chargers, blaster capacitors. I hit the last switch and sealed the hatch with a 'thunk' and a hiss as the ball cockpit pressurized.

    I could see through the cockpit windscreen that dock workers were starting to look in my direction. I was out of time. Bluffing my way in one was thing, but an unauthorized and unscheduled launch was another.

    I slapped my hand down on the ignition and the twin ion engines shrieked to life in an instant. I twisted the throttle in my left handed grip and the repulsor lifts kicked in around the same time as the blaster pre-chargers finally flashed green. The TIE popped up off the docking bay floor and I stepped into the right rudder pedal and spun around my vertical axis towards the other TIE.

    My chest felt heavy, my skin slick with sweat. I was doing it. I was doing it. I was getting out, earning my freedom. From the Empire, the First Order, from my master, and from this planet. I pressed down the firing stud and green blaster bolts fired out of the under-cockpit cannons and turned the other fighter into a smoking hulk.

    Good enough, I hauled back on the yoke as I twisted and pushed the throttle, the fighter pivoted upwards to face the opening to the docking bay as the engines and repuslor lifts throttled up in concert and the fighter screamed out into the wide open blue sky.

    I was limited while still in atmosphere, I knew that from the time I’d stolen in simulators, the sooner I broke into orbit the sooner I could activate the hyperdrive and leave forever. Still, it shouldn't take long--

    A bolt of crimson flashed between the solar panel and cockpit of my fighter, ground fire. I hadn't counted on that. I hauled the yoke over and spun the fighter into a tight left corkscrew, preserving my climb while making it a little less simple for them to get a solution on me. If my Master had been there, still been alive, it would have been trivial.

    For me, well, I was doing everything I could not to panic and die.

    Or get my lekku tangled up, the inertial dampeners hadn't quite calibrated themselves to planetary gravity, so every turn and twist was imposing G forces on my body, almost enough to make me wish I'd brought a roll of adhesive tape, if for no other reason then to stop them from flailing around with each maneuver.

    I angled the shields for double aft, and so far, at least as far as the sensors were concerned, no fighters had tried to pursue me. I wouldn't be in range of the space port canons for more than a few more seconds anyway.

    I allowed myself a small measure of relief as the incoming ground fire slowly tapered off and then stopped completely, this allowed me to smooth out my rapid ascent and avoid knocking myself silly with my own appendages.

    The air started to get thinner, and so I throttled the engines higher. The sooner I broke free of the gravity well, the sooner I could make the jump to lightspeed and then on to Ryloth, and from there…

    Well, maybe I hadn't planned that far ahead, though I'd been pretty good at deception so far on this backwater, so maybe I'd just take that show on the road.

    Something felt… wrong. It wasn't that it was too easy, luck explained more than anything else… there was just something nagging at me, an itch at the back of my mind--

    I slammed the control yoke to the left and pushed the throttle up to the maximum setting, atmospheric heating be damned. An instant later green turbo-laser fire lanced past the ball cockpit of the TIE and the sensor array started to scream.

    A look at the scanner told me what I needed to know; a patrol cruiser had dropped out of hyperspace right on top of me, and it wasn't friendly. It wasn't a fight, it would be a slaughter.

    I hauled the yoke to the right through another corkscrew maneuver as another burst of turbo-laser fire flashed past. It wouldn't take more than a hit, my shields were proof against a few blasts from a snub fighter, not from a capital class turbo-laser battery.

    “Well, at least I'll die free...” I muttered as another green blast shot past the cockpit. They were getting closer, and I was depressingly predictable with my maneuvers, and if I wasn't careful they were going to run me down and catch me with a tractor beam.

    I took my left hand off the throttle and started to scroll through the readout on the navi-computer, slow going with my attention divided, if I couldn't find the right planet and plot the course--

    Another shot, this one close enough to deflect off the shields, the warnings blared through the cockpit, shields were down, and the navi-computer went offline. I pulled the fighter into a tight clockwise corkscrew and grabbed onto the lever controlling the hyperdrive. If I was going to die, it wasn't going to be on the angry end of a turbo-laser battery.

    Maybe today wasn't such a good day after all. I pushed the levers forward and felt the sudden kick in the pants of the jump to lightspeed.

    Without coordinates I might fly into a star or an asteroid field or any number of deadly scenarios, but I still had a better chance than if I'd stayed behind to take my licks. Besides, if I remembered correctly a hyperdrive would disengage if you entered a planet's gravity well. That was the way interdictor cruisers worked to drag ships out of hyperspace.

    I was surely far enough away after even just a few minutes of hyperspace travel that they wouldn't be able to follow me, at least not right way, so I reached for the hyperdrive controls--

    I slammed forward in the crash restraints despite the intertial dampeners as the fighter dropped out of hyperspace spontaneously, before I'd had a chance to deactivate the drive manually. The control yoke slammed full forward and the fighter went into a forward tumble and I could see light through the canopy as the sound of air rushing past the cockpit reached my ears.

    That was bad.

    The scream of the air and the engines was piercing, it made me feel like my teeth were vibrating inside of my skull as I fought the yoke for control. No easy task as the atmosphere of whatever planet I'd ended up on was catching the TIE's panels and dragging me every which way.

    The throttle was still maxed out from before, so I pulled the throttle back to idle and stepped into the rudder pedal, straightening the fighter out somewhat, though the controls were still sluggish as I was still dangerously over-speed, what little shields I had left were likely the only thing keeping the ship from melting from atmospheric friction.

    Even with the engines at idle, I wasn't slowing nearly enough. The devastated cityscape in front of me wouldn't be forgiving if I crashed into it at orbital velocity, and I wouldn't be the only one to do so from the look of it. Dozens, hundreds of crashed starships in what was once a massive city, if the still standing multi-hundred level buildings were any indication.

    I twisted the repulsor-lift throttle-grip and pulled back on the yoke to use the repulsor lifts as a braking thruster. It wasn't as if a TIE generated any aerodynamic lift anyway, so I didn't climb even with the 'nose' up attitude.

    I could almost let myself calm down, almost, as the airspeed dropped from 'terrifying' to 'mildly concerning', but sweat still covered every square centimeter of skin, and I still clenched onto the control yoke with a death grip.

    I was not an experienced pilot. I'd dabbled, airspeeders, landspeeders, simulators, that kind of thing. My master was the accomplished pilot, occasionally, very occasionally, he'd allow me to indulge, but this situation was so far out of my wheelhouse that I was just guessing. If it made sense, it was worth a shot, right?

    Still, I needed to see where I was going, so I stepped into my rudder and carefully rotated the ship, trying not to dip either of the panels into the airstream and cause the ship to tumble out of control again. The view through the forward canopy shifted from the sky, to the horizon, and then to the ground below, with the ship flying essentially down and backwards while it bled speed. I needed some place to land, and hide, and maybe scavenge or trade for parts to repair the navi-computer… or maybe an astromech droid.

    I eyeballed my trajectory, I wasn't any kind of mathematician but I did have a vague idea of where I was going to land if I kept going like this, a few degrees off that axis was a crashed capital ship, a bit like an old mark two star destroyer, but different. It had a dorsal hanger bay of some kind, and as luck would have it, that bay was ripped wide open, either in the crash of the mighty vessel or by scavengers in the years since.

    Though it wasn't a model I recognized in the slightest; it was either before my time or from a military I was unfamiliar with. It would have to do. I rolled the repulsor-lift throttled back to idle and pitched forward, then rolled over to level the TIE out. The sooner I set down and figured out how bad the damage was, the sooner I'd know how long I was trapped on this planet.

    On the bright side, at least it wasn't overrun with stormtroopers.
     
  2. Threadmark: 2
    Jackie

    Jackie Of Ice and Fire

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    Chapter 2:
    Old Soldier​


    I'd never been a student of history, something that became a real problem for me while I explored the wreck of the sort-of star destroyer. I hadn't been a student of much, really. Whatever my master had taught me. Basic things, things to get me by. He wasn't much of a teacher of academics, but he had tried in his own way.

    If he hadn't died, I'd likely never have fled, but as it was…

    The ship was definitely Imperial, pre-first-order, pre-Battle of Jakku, that much I could be sure of. An eight-spoked version of the imperial crest was painted all over the ship, inside and out. The hanger bay had been littered with scattered armor, reminiscent of old stormtroopers, the owners long since turned to dust.

    Whatever had brought the starship down, I could only hope for the crew's sake that their death was from the crash and not starvation from a lack of supplies. Of the ways to go, starvation wasn't one of the best.

    My lightsaber had made quick work of the door at the far end of the landing bay, and so I'd made my way deeper into the ship, each corridor a mirror of the last. The sharp angle of the deck was the only thing that gave me any indication of which end of the ship was the front, my only illumination the head-lamp I’d scavenged from the emergency supplies kit on the TIE.

    But something on the ship was still drawing power, which meant something on the ship was still producing power, I could feel it in my teeth, the dull, almost imperceptible vibration that let even the most inexperienced spacer know they still had a chance, that the ship wasn't dead.

    The air was stale, but not as much as I would have expected for a wreck this old, at least, what, forty years? Maybe, it was older than anything I was familiar with, so it had to be at least that old. But it had power, and so I still had hope.

    So maybe there was still some air flow from a backup life support system, or maybe somebody had been in the ship recently… or, if I was to dash my hopes completely, it was just because the ship had been ripped open on impact with the planet. That last one would mean I had a lot slimmer of a chance of finding functional navi-computer parts.

    Not that I had much hope that they'd be compatible with the TIE anyway, but it was worth trying at least. At the very least I might figure out what planet I was on.

    The hard soles of my boots clicked across the slanted decking as I climbed towards the stern of the ship. If it was anything like an impstar-deuce, the reactor compartment would be back there, below the bridge tower and just forward of the engines.

    I tried to suppress a chuckle at the thought of somehow managing to re-launch the ship and fly it out of here, but the disturbing echo of my own voice in my ears shut down any mirth I might have been feeling rather quickly. Whatever had brought the ship down likely meant it wasn't going back up again, to say nothing of the fact that it was most definitely out of fuel by now if the reactor had still been functioning after the crash.

    I don't know if it was the echo or just the sound of a voice that had startled me, it had been hours and no small measure of stress since I'd heard the sound of my own voice, I'd gotten used to the quiet. I shook my head and continued down the hallway, the vibrations were getting a little stronger with each meter.

    One, two, three more steps, my fingertips passed over a doorway and the vibrations intensified, just on that one door. Showtime.

    I pulled my lightsaber from my belt and snapped down the safety catch and slapped my thumb down on the igniter switch. The crimson blade flashed into existence with a snap-hiss and I jammed it into the door. I didn't need to cut open every door with the lightsaber, a pry-bar would likely work, they weren't locked, just without power.

    However, I wanted to cut the doors open, and so I did.

    A few quick swipes of the blade through the thin doors and a kick later, I'd broken into the room. The room that still had power and lights... and corpses… and carbonite? Whatever had happened in this room, it had been rough, a few decades ago.

    There were three sets of that old stormtrooper armor stacked up against the forward bulkhead, from the crash most likely, and I wasn't particularly interested in seeing what the armor had inside of it. No, this was a grave wasn't it? Of all the things I'd done, I hadn't robbed graves.

    But this was survival, not greed. That made it okay, or, at least less bad. My master wouldn't have agreed with me about that, he would have said that the dead don't care, that our own prosperity mattered more than reverence for the dead.

    Well, more directly, he'd have said that they didn't matter, and taken whatever he wanted. That was the kind of man he was. He treated me well because he treated everything he owned well, so he did care in his own way, I would suppose. His apprentice…

    I shook my head, that wasn't what mattered, what mattered was getting off this planet.



    But the carbonite? I turned my head towards the brick of carbonite leaned against the wall, tucked into a dent that it likely made during the crash. That was certainly interesting, not the most interesting thing, but pretty interesting.

    I stepped over a skeleton clad in brown robes, I didn't recognize the attire, but something felt… familiar. That was a question for later, that block of carbonite looked… very interesting, now that I'd gotten a closer look. It looked almost like somebody had frozen a set of stormtrooper armor in it, why they'd do that, I didn't know.

    But if it was frozen from before the crash, that meant the power cells would have been preserved in perfect stasis, and those I could use, if for nothing else, I could recharge the lightsaber when I eventually depleted it by carving through every door in the ship.

    I clipped the lightsaber back to my belt and crouched down by the control panel set into the block of carbonite, blew the dust off of it, and started poking at it. It lit up at my first touch, whatever backup power supply the ship was using, it had been keeping this panel charged up for quite some time.

    “Let's see what secrets you hold, little panel.”

    It wasn't something I was intimately familiar with, but it shouldn't be too different from any other carbonite freezing frame that I'd seen, I just had to set up the defrosting cycle. I tapped through a few menus, status, no, power consumption, didn't care…

    “Execute, huh? Let's try that then...” I muttered under my breath as I pressed a finger down on the command. Either it would engage the command, or it would kill anything contained in the carbonite, but that would just be foolish.

    Long idle heater coils groaned to life and the surface of the carbonite slab glowed a dull red, the radiating heat forced me to take a couple steps back. The front of the armor was freed from its cold prison and my jaw dropped.

    It wasn't just armor, it was a body, a person was inside the armor. Suddenly the multitude of readouts I hadn't cared about made sense, vital signs. This stormtrooper was alive. My hand dropped to my hip and gripped at the lightsaber. The stormtrooper was alive and the Empire was not kind to twi'leks.

    I wished I'd brought my mask, too late now though. He stumbled out of the frame and took a knee on the deck plate, coughed through his helmet. He was clutching something in his right hand, an older model of blaster rifle was slung over his shoulder.

    Do or die time. I took a few steps back and snapped the lightsaber off my belt and popped the safety catch. “Trooper,” I snarled, “I am Sith, you will obey!” I snapped my thumb down on the igniter switch and held the blade down and to my side.

    The trooper tensed when I yelled, then, to my great surprise he came up swinging his closed fist towards my chin. My teeth clacked together and I saw stars and felt my feet leaving the decking. My thumb slipped off the catch and the lightsaber extinguished itself, I flew backwards through the air and landed on my back. Yy head smashed down on top of my lekku and I felt the bile rising in my throat, my eyes slipped out of focus as I tried to gather myself.

    That wasn't the reaction I'd been looking for. Out of all possible outcomes, that one wasn't even on the list. I heard his boots clicking on the floor and snapped my thumb back down on the igniter, the snap-hiss filled the room and I forced myself back up onto my feet.

    My head was swimming, but I wasn't going down without a fight, not after everything. I glared at the expressionless visage of his helmet. He held up his hand, the one he'd clocked me with, and stared at it, as if only now noticing the object he held.

    He lunged towards me and snapped his hand down to his side, there was a crackling and a snap-hiss and the room was bathed in blue to counter my red. Another lightsaber? I jumped back as he swung and cleared the door frame.

    “A Jedi?” I mouthed as I brought my own lightsaber up to deflect the incoming strike as he launched himself through the door after me. He wanted blood, and I happened to have some. It was imperative that I keep him from his goal.

    The blades slammed together and his superior strength pushed me back a few steps. He was fighting angry, his rage was fueling his strength. This was something I was familiar with, this was how a Sith would fight, not a Jedi. Who the hell was he? His technique was brutal, all strength, harsh swipes, there was no fluidity, no follow-through, he was aggressive, using the weapon like a club.

    I dropped and swung at him, knocking his blade up from underneath, he kicked me in the chest with his boot and I fell to a sitting position, the blade fell from my hand and shut itself off. He had me defenseless, and really I shouldn't have been so surprised, I'd been faking it the whole time anyway.

    “You're a kid.”

    I looked up, I'd been expecting a deathblow, but he spoke instead. He sounded confused, angry. He had a Jedi weapon, he attacked me for being a Sith… This was not a stormtrooper. It was nagging at the back of my mind what he had to be, couldn't quite grasp the thought, my head was still spinning, my lekku felt like they were going to explode.

    He thought I was with whoever brought his ship down, my declaration must have… he was at war with Sith, must have been. Sith must have brought the ship down.

    His lightsaber shut off and he crouched down to look at me. His left hand clamped down hard on my shoulder, as if to let me know that trying anything wouldn't end well for me, and he was definitely right. “You're not Sith. What are you playing at, little girl?”

    I licked the blood off my lip, “It worked before, the bluff that is. I didn't want you to attack me for being non-human--”

    The trooper made a sound almost like a laugh, not one of joy, more like I'd just said something unfathomably stupid. “You tried to bluff a Republic soldier into thinking you were Sith to make him not attack you? You're not very smart are you?”

    I blinked my eyes, I definitely had a concussion from the blow to the head, that thread of memory, if I could just grab onto it… A Republic soldier? That would make him-- That wasn't the Imperial roundel. “You're a clone.” I said, mostly to myself, as if saying it would be what made it real.

    “And you're Twi'lek, what has that got to do with anything? What are you doing on this ship? You're obviously not with the separatists. What are you playing at?” He asked and shook me by the shoulder.

    I grit my teeth against the pain of my pounding headache and my bruised lekku, “Not… playing at anything. I don't know what you expected but the situation isn't what you think it is.”

    He grabbed my lightsaber off the deck with his free hand and hoisted me onto my feet with the one clamped to my shoulder. I did my very best not to express how much that actually hurt. I failed.

    “Then I suggest you enlighten me as to the situation.”


    xxx


    The walk back to the landing bay was a lot less eventful than the walk from it, certainly less eventful than what transpired in the carbonite chamber. I didn't even get to slash a single door open with a lightsaber; the trooper wouldn't give back my lightsaber. No matter how much I whined.

    “I have no idea how anyone would ever take you seriously as a Sith. You behave like a child,” He chastised as we ducked through the last half-melted hatchway into the hanger.

    I shrugged, “I'm young at heart, what can I say? Most people find it refreshing.”

    “I bet.” He said simply and then he paused, his helmet turned on his shoulders, he seemed to be taking in the state of the bay. I could imagine it was hard for him. Time didn't really pass when frozen in carbonite, so all those dead soldiers piled up in the bay were friends he'd been with only hours ago, as far as he was concerned.

    I put my hand on his shoulder and shook my head, “I'm sorry that it ended up like this. You've been asleep for a very, very long time.”

    I could almost feel the grief washing over him, a slight tremble through his armor. He hadn't a chance to decompress from his ordeal, and then I'd been there with my lightsaber, pretending to be the thing that he'd been at war with.

    Sure I'd spent the greater part of my life around Sith, but that didn't mean I was without empathy.

    He turned towards me and seemed to hesitate, “How many years?”

    I frowned, I wasn't really a student of history, “I'm not sure, at least fifty. The war ended, you won.”

    “Fifty years...” He trailed off and walked away from me, towards my TIE, though I doubted that was his destination.

    I was on a roll today. Ran from the First Order, got shot at, ended up on a random planet, found my way onto a crashed star destroyer, and ruined a man's worldview. Maybe I was Sith.

    I couldn't really waste time feeling too sorry for him though, if I couldn't get off this planet my freedom was going to be meaningless. One prison was just as good as another and starving to death on a wrecked backwater wasn't my idea of a good time.

    That this ship spent so long undisturbed meant that the planet wasn't exactly swimming with sentients or they'd have stripped the wreck years ago.

    I stared after the clone and then at my TIE. Despite the fight we'd just been in, and my being almost-but-not-quite his prisoner, well, he was starting to tug at my heartstrings. Hell with it. “Hey--”

    A sonic boom cut me off and I looked up at the sky, a shuttle dropped below the cloud-deck and into view. It was definitely Imperial. Neither of us needed that. They had to have tracked my TIE, I should have known there would be some kind of tracking device.

    “Hey clone!” I yelled and started running across the deck towards him, “Hey clone! This really isn't our kind of dance party, trust me on this! We have to get out of here!”

    He turned towards me, “What? I thought you said we won the war, that's just a shuttle.”

    “It's what's in the shuttle that scares me. Get in the TIE fighter, if we don't get out of here we're both going to be facing a firing squad! The First Order doesn't really appreciate escaped slaves!” I yelled as I ran past him and started climbing up the left solar panel of m fighter. The fear I'd felt when he woke up was nothing like the fear I felt now, knowing how easily I'd lost a fight with him, I knew there wasn't a hope in this world or any other that I'd be able to protect myself on the ground.

    I looked back over my shoulder, he was headed towards the opposite solar panel, he yelled up at me, “I'm a clone, not a slave. There's a difference.”

    “I wasn't talking about you. Hurry up and get in the back seat, we're getting out of here,” I yelled as I ran across the horizontal support. I dropped to my knee and jammed my fingers under the boarding hatch and lifted.

    Adrenaline was a hell of a drug, shaking aside, it got me moving despite my injuries. The second my butt hit the couch my hands were dancing across the controls, start-up sequences remembered from hours of simulator practice and one actual panicked flight served me well.

    I felt the thump of a body landing in the couch behind me and I reached over to lockdown the boarding hatch. My bruised lekku throbbed with the sudden pressure change as the on-board life support brought the ship to one standard atmosphere.

    “So, the hyperdrive works, but the navicomputer is damaged, so we can't flee the planet. I'm going to try to shoot down that shuttle before it can report us, then we have to disable the tracking beacon on this fighter and find some place to hide,” I explained in a manic run-on-sentence and grabbed the throttle control and it felt slick in my sweaty palm.

    “So we're stuck on Taris? Could be worse, I guess. I could've spent the last fifty years frozen in carbonite,” The clone yelled from the seat behind me. At least he had a sense of sarcasm. He'd be a better companion than a droid at least.

    “Taris huh? Well at least now I know where I am.” I hauled back on the control yoke and slammed the throttle forward. The inertial dampeners took a second to adjust and I was slammed back in my seat as the small fighter tore out the hanger like a rocket.

    Shields still read as weak, navicomputer was still out, I knew that. My hand flew over the weapons panel and I was pleased to find that the blasters were still operational and that the capacitor had charged successfully.

    I toggled the targeting scanners and the shuttle popped up immediately, high on my nine o clock. I stomped into the left rudder and hauled the yoke around. Shooting a shuttle in the middle of a landing cycle was a bit like shooting a star destroyer from the inside, I couldn't miss.

    I pressed my thumb down on the firing stud. I missed.

    “You have flown a fighter before, haven't you?” He asked from the back seat, I could hear the accusation in his voice.

    “Of course, I've flown before! This will be my second flight!”

    “That explains why you can't shoot!” He yelled.

    “Well maybe I wouldn't have missed if you hadn't punched me in the head!” I yelled back as I hauled on the yoke for another pass.

    “Try not to deserve it next time,” He shot back at me. A moment later I heard the sound of blasters discharging, he'd found the controls for the rear turret and was firing, presumably at the shuttle.

    I stomped into the rudder hard and swung the front of the TIE around on the shuttle, it had aborted the landing cycle and was trying to power back into the air. I wasn't going to give it the chance. I pressed my thumb down on the firing stud and a pair of green blaster bolts lanced out and put a pair of messy holes through the shuttle's starboard engine.

    The engine immediately started to belch flame and the shuttle listed violently and started to descend towards the crashed star destroyer. I pushed the throttle forward and angled away from it. “See? I can shoot!”

    “Anyone can shoot a shuttle.”

    “Hey, you can't mock me too much you know, you got into the fighter with me of your own free will. So, this is Taris? I don't suppose there's anything resembling civilization on Taris?” I asked and finally allowed myself to relax into the pilot's couch. I was still jittery, pumped up, but the anxiety of my impending death had reduced to something tolerable. At least I didn't feel like throwing up anymore.

    “That is what we were trying to protect. If we won, it might still be there. I'll punch in the coordinates,” He answered back.

    Bonding, this was bonding right? Go into combat with somebody, don't die, become friends? I'd never had one of those before, but this new situation I found myself in… well, maybe an attachment or two couldn't hurt.
     
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  3. Threadmark: 3
    Jackie

    Jackie Of Ice and Fire

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    Chapter 3:
    All Lucky Sevens​


    The silence was awkward, as silences are wont to be.

    Normally I'd have been thrilled to have peace and quiet, but the stress of the recent fight, if it could be called that, still hung over me like a black cloud. With the impending threat of stormtroopers inviting us to a mandatory headstomping we'd both been able to put aside the conflict we'd had when I'd woken him up.

    But, now, with all of that behind us, we were left with the fact that we were two people who didn't really know each other, and very recently had tried to kill one another. Sure it was a misunderstanding, of sorts, but that didn't stop me from feeling bad about it. And I knew it didn't stop him from feeling bad about it. Despite the claim I'd made, his demeanor changed when he'd seen that I was, in his view, a 'kid'.

    It didn't take much in the way of mental gymnastics to come to the conclusion that attacking someone he viewed as a child violated his own personal code of ethics, especially when it had become clear that I posed no real threat to him.

    Well, at least not after he knocked me on my ass with an uppercut. He had quite the solid punch.

    Still, it didn't seem like I could discount the possibility that he was still very, very, angry with me. He certainly had some feelings on the matter; he hadn't really said a word since we shot down the shuttle.

    It had been an older Lambda shuttle, a long range shuttle, which gave me some small hope that a star destroyer wasn't in orbit above my head waiting to rain down fiery damnation upon us, something that was likely lost on him.

    My lekku twitched, I cleared my throat. “So uh. Pretty sure there isn't a Star Destroyer in orbit. That was a hyper-drive equipped shuttle. Probably wouldn't have used it if they had a ship in orbit,” I said. My lekku kept twitching. It was getting annoying.

    He remained silent, I heard some vocoded breathing. He was still wearing his helmet, I began to wonder if he had a face.

    “So, it looks like we're gonna be stuck with each other for a while,” I started again, pushing for some kind of reaction. Maybe get the nervous twitching to stop. “I'm Rena Van. I uh, don't think I caught your name.”

    Still more silence-- No, there was a clicking sound, like unbuckling or unsnapping. I heard another clicking sound, a little deeper. “My birth number was seven-seven-seven. They called me Lucky.” His voice was deeper, he'd taken his helmet off. It was accented differently than I was familiar with, almost… It reminded me of a group of Mandalorians I'd once encountered.

    And he sounded sad.

    “Well, you did survive a starship crashing down from orbit, that's pretty good luck you've got there, Lucky,” I joked, trying to lighten the mood. I was… not skilled at trying to make people feel better. At least not emotionally.


    “I was the only one. Some luck. If that Jedi hadn't pushed me into the carbonite, I'd be with all my brothers right now,” he answered back. His voice was still sad with a hint of bitterness, maybe. It seemed that everyone had their problems.


    And most of those problems ran a little deeper than a stupid joke could fix.

    “Well, you're here with me now, and let me tell ya, I'm really glad we didn't kill each other. That would have been just terrible. The worst,” I said while nodding my head matter-of-factly. He couldn't see me do it of course, but that was neither here nor there.

    “I don't think that's something I ever had to worry about Kid,” he joked. I could hear a hint of condescendingamusement in his voice.

    I laughed. “Yeah well, I wasn't expecting you to attack. That bluff always works on stormtroopers.”

    “Stormtroopers sound stupid.”

    I shrugged against the control couch restraints, “Well, you're not wrong. They're not fighting the kind of war you were though. Stupid is more compliant.”

    He grunted behind me. It was funny, he was a clone of all things, and had still more personality than most stormtroopers I'd met. Of course, I'd once met a bantha with more personality than your average stormtrooper.


    The TIE rocked gently on some mild turbulence. It was actually flying fairly well, all considered. Not exactly the most high class ride ever, but at least we had teeth. I looked back over my shoulder, “So, how much further until we reach this settlement?”

    “Shouldn't be far now. This whole planet used to be one big city, a few thousand years ago. The settlement is in a small cluster of buildings left intact from that original world-city. This… This is starting to look familiar, at least I think it does...” He trailed off. His memories were fresh to him, but still several decades old.

    Looked like that was starting to really sink in.

    “Well hey, if there's an actual city that's even better. Maybe if we've got the time I could get my lekku buffed.”

    “You're weird, Kid.”

    “Don't knock it till you try it. Well, maybe not. Anyway, I think I see something interesting up ahead. I'll see if I can get spaceport control on the comm.” I called back to him with a grin. Maybe I was weird, but after a day like this I deserved some pampering.

    XXX​

    I grit my teeth behind my 'Sith' mask. It took most of my willpower to keep from snatching the lightsaber off my belt and clenching it in my hand in a deathgrip. That wouldn't have really sold the effect I was going for, which was 'confidence', a confidence I knew I didn't actually have. But really, that's what bluffing was.

    It was obvious from the looks we were both getting that showing up in a TIE didn't endear us to the local populace. Unfortunately, 'fake sith' was the only scam I really had going for me on short notice, and since we didn't have anything to barter with--

    “This planet is a trash heap.”

    I looked over to the clone, Lucky. Over and up, he was a good bit taller than I was. “You're only just now noting that?” I hissed under my breath. Really? Insulting the planet while we're at the mercy of it's citizens.

    “No, it just bears repeating. This planet is a trash heap, the people who live here don't have much so, let's try to do right by them. Alright?” He replied as we descended the ramp.

    Behind us, perched upon a surprisingly sturdy platform bolted to the side of one of the remaining skyscrapers of Taris, was our TIE. Our TIE that, upon realizing it was a TIE, they'd only very begrudgingly allowed us to land.

    Because it was a TIE.

    No love for anything Imperial on Taris. Good to know, my accent was unlikely to go unnoticed by the populace, so better to be ready for it. At least I didn't look like a storm trooper, though the fake-sith getup wasn't much better, I could try to play it off as something else if I had to--

    “Sir, calm down.”

    My head snapped to the side, I'd lost myself in thought and missed it. We'd been confronted by an irate Rodian, he was yelling at Lucky in Rodian. I didn't speak, or understand, Rodian. I didn't need to understand Rodian to know that the man was upset. At least, I thought it was a man. It was hard to tell with Rodians. In any case, the Rodian had a blaster pistol and was definitely unhappy.

    “No, listen, I'm not with the First Order. No I'm not Imperial. No, just-- Sir!” Lucky yelled and the Rodian swung his blaster.

    My hand snapped down to my lightsaber an instant before Lucky pushed me back with his left arm and swung his right hand into the Rodian's blaster and knocked it to the ground. The sudden loss of his blaster seemed to take the fire out him, and he backpedaled away from us.

    “Easy there, Kid.” He said over his shoulder at me, “He's just upset, he was yelling about his son, he won't come after us again.”

    “So I'm guessing he thinks we're First Order, and so he thinks we're with the people who did something to his son?” I shook my head and took my hand away from my lightsaber. The Sith scam wasn't going to work now that he's said we weren't with the Imps.

    “That's right,” he answered with a nod. That helmet, I had to admit, was a lot better looking than stormtrooper fare. The fin and red outlining really brought it together, gave it a sort of heroic look.

    “Well...” I trailed off as I plucked the mask off my face and rested it against the top of my head, balanced and held in place by the elastic pulled around my lekku. I looked over at my companion, “I don't want to sound heartless, but his problems aren't really our problems to worry about. I've gotta get off this planet, and you… Well, you're probably the best off with me.”

    He chuckled as we continued deeper into the spaceport, if it could be called that. It was likely as close to a real spaceport as Taris was likely to have; a few landing platforms bolted to the side of the tower, and a sky courtyard in the middle. Our TIE was on one of the pads, another held a Corellian YT-1300 freighter, the other a VCX-100, newer than the YT, but possibly the dirtiest looking ship I'd ever seen. If it had ever been washed, it certainly hadn't been since I'd been born.

    The 1300 on the other hand looked well kept, the offset cockpit and twin mandibles were a familiar sight. If a spaceport existed, there was a good chance that there was a YT-1300 docked there, and if there wasn't, there would be soon.

    “Alright then, Kid. What's the plan?” Lucky asked conversationally as we strolled through the courtyard.

    “Well, the original plan was to defect to the Republic, I figure that's still probably the best plan, once we make it that far there will be an entire navy and non-aggression treaty between us and the nearest star destroyer,” I explained, glossing over the finer details and sharing the broad strokes of the Plan To Make Rena Never Be A Slave Again.

    Lucky's pace hitched for a second and he slowed to let me walk next to him, he turned towards me, “I thought you said the Republic fell.” There was a hint of accusation in his voice. Right, he wouldn't really trust me too readily would he? No, I was getting the impression his trust was based entirely on his confidence that he could take me.

    “Different one. Old one turned into the Empire. Empire was bad. Rebel Alliance won a war against the Empire, founded the new Republic. Like, version two. It's a good place, or so I'm told. No slavery, that kinda thing.” I shrugged, “beats Taris at least, yeah?”

    “Yeah…Maybe I should get out more. I've been on Taris for, what was it you said, sixty years? Time for a change.”

    I laughed, “Yeah, that's the spirit!”

    XXX​

    The cantina was adapted from… something. It was obvious that the cavernous lounge hadn't started life this way, with the ripped paneling and exposed power conduits. What it had been in a previous life remained a mystery buried under what could possibly have been centuries of abuse and neglect.

    It was exactly the kind of filth-den that we needed. It was the kind of place that you wouldn't want to patronize without a holdout blaster and up to date vaccinations. A flight suit with good pressure seals wouldn't go amiss.

    And Lucky was negotiating with a human who went by the name 'Davik', whether that was an alias or his actual name, I didn't know. It wouldn't have mattered either way; I very nearly pulled my holdout blaster on him. The Sith had rubbed off on me, I let my anger get the better of me, fed it, and nearly got a man shot.

    Shot by me, but still. The smug son-of-a-nerf-herder had overstepped what I was willing to tolerate. 'Sorry pet, I don't negotiate with slaves. Fetch your owner,' he'd said. As if being a Twi'lek, even one with this accent, was enough to draw that conclusion. And that grin.

    Lucky had stopped me, taken over the negotiations and kept up the charade, for this smuggler's benefit anyway. He could manage that, he definitely had more worldly experience than I did. Fighting in a war would do that. It also helped that he was human, some attitudes persisted even without the Empire to enforce them.

    The sound of a blaster cut through the air and I spun around to face it, dropping to my knee to pull a holdout blaster from my ankle. I came up with blaster in hand, my eyes scanning the now very quiet bar.

    Davik was standing with a blaster in his right hand, his left against the side of his face with blood seeping out from around it. Lucky was standing in front of him with a very prominent scorch mark on his chest armor and his blaster rifle shouldered and aimed directly at Davik's heart.

    Oh boy.

    I cleared the five meters in a few seconds, my blaster joined Lucky's and I scanned for an ambush, anyone who might have been working with or for Davik who would back him in a fight. Well, more of a fight. Somehow Lucky's armor had stopped a blaster bolt at contact range. Stormtrooper armor wasn't that good, and Davik had probably been counting on that.

    “Thats one. There won't be two. We're going to leave and you're going to let us, understand?” Lucky said to Davik with the kind of cool intensity I'd only ever heard from from a Sith, and not my master either.

    Davik nodded slowly and lowered his blaster a few degrees, enough for a gesture of good faith but little enough that it showed he didn't trust the situation any further than he was required to. It wasn't every day you shot a man in the chest and he didn't even flinch.

    It was fifteen meters to the door, and we'd have to walk backwards part of the way at least, to cover each other. I had a bad feeling about it, more than just about the fact that Lucky had already been shot once; I felt eyes boring into me. There was something… unsettling, deeper than the fight with Davik.

    “Kid, we're leaving.” He announced through the vocoder in his helmet. I still hadn't seen his face.

    I nodded and he backpedaled towards the door, I kept pace a few meters to his side and scanned the walls, my eyes darted between the shifty looking sapients that occupied the establishment. Of course, that was all of the sapients that occupied the establishment, it was just that kind of place, but I put in the effort.

    And that's what really counts.

    Daylight was a few meters away, Davik was fixing us both with a death-glare, from his good eye anyway. Several associates of his, I assumed anyway, had filtered out of the crowd and had taken up flanking positions on either side of him, just in case we came back, or maybe if we'd tried to take him out from the door.

    “You know, Lucky, you're not very good at making friends,” I commented under my breath as the door drew closer, only about three meters now.

    “Kid, he's not the kind of friend you want.” He shook his head and lowed his blaster rifle a few degrees. His helmet turned to the side, he was scanning the room as well. Of course he would.

    “Well, you did punch him in the face, price of transport too high?” I joked, despite the stress and fear I felt coursing through me. This was a situation that had all the potential in the world to get us killed.

    “Something like that,” He offered, and then we both stepped through the threshold into daylight. A quick step to our mutual left put the wall of the cantina between us and any blaster fire from inside, we were reasonably safe.

    We were back in the spaceport courtyard and we were getting strange looks, but not nearly as many as you'd expect. It was probably not that uncommon for people to come out carrying blasters at the ready, given what I'd seen inside.

    “So how much did he want anyway?” I asked as we fast-walked away from the cantina. No point sticking around, at least not until Davik was offworld with his cronies anyway.

    Lucky hesitated and took a moment to sling his blaster across his back, “He wanted, uh, you.”

    My left hand immediately clenched down hard enough that I was almost certain I could feel my fingernails drawing blood from my palm. Oh come on! I grit my teeth and looked up and over at Lucky, “so that's why you punched him in the face?”

    “That's right.”

    “I didn't know you cared,” I said with a light chuckle and a grin.

    “Well, blue is one of my favorite colors.”

    I looked at my hand, and back at him. I was blue. My grin turned into a frown and I narrowed my eyes at him, “You should have shot him in the face.”

    Lucky pulled his head back and looked down at me with a completely unreadable expression (because of that stupid helmet) and put his hand on my shoulder, “Kid, you scare me some times.”

    I raised my eyebrows, “Yeah? Funny how it's not when I'm swinging a lightsaber at you that you feel that way.”

    “I could tell you didn't really mean it. Besides, I'm scarier,” he joked and took his hand back. “And I knew I could take you.”

    “Yeah, maybe. Speaking of scarier,” I started, “Maybe you could take that helmet off for a while. I still haven't seen your face.”

    “We all look the same, Kid.”

    “You may not have noticed, but there aren't exactly a whole lot of you around. Take the helmet off and get some fresh air, it'll do you some good and maybe people won't keep thinking you're a stormtrooper,” I offered and have his shoulder a playful shove.

    He didn't budge an inch.

    He did reach up to his neck and pop the airtight seal holding the helmet on, and then grabbed on and lifted it up and away. I noticed the brown eyes first, the rest of it was details. He looked… good. A lot younger looking than I would have thought, probably not much older than me.

    Actually, clones were artificially aged right? He was probably actually younger than me, less the time spent frozen. It would be rude to ask.

    “See? You're already blending in better. You have a face and everything!”

    “Yeah I-- what is that?” he asked suddenly, pointing ahead of us and towards the sky.

    I followed his finger and felt my skin grow cold, three ships in close formation, sub-light only ships, I recognized them immediately. No hyperdrive, so they had to have launched from another ship nearby.

    “Those are First Order Atmospheric Assault Landers,” I explained, then turned to him, “I think we're in trouble.”
     
  4. Threadmark: 4
    Jackie

    Jackie Of Ice and Fire

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    Chapter 4:
    The Pretender​


    The TIE still sat upon the docking platform, shining in the sunlight. The pockmarks from the inbound turbolaser fire during my earlier escape only added to the character of the starfighter that was rapidly growing on me, in its own way. The hatch was already partially open, the forward canopy was clean and polished, free of debris. The dockworkers must have been trying to make a good impression.

    And then, like all of the hopes and dreams I had as a little girl, it burst into flames and exploded.

    The shockwave and heat from the blast threatened to burn my eyelashes off and I raised my arm to shield myself from the flames, "What the?!"

    “Kid, what did you do?” Lucky asked me with a completely flat tone. Shock, I assumed.

    “That wasn't me! Someboy sold us out! TIE's done, how are we getting out of this? Somehow I don't think they're gonna give us enough time to make it down three hundred floors!” I yelled back over the commotion and fresh blaster fire. The AALs were pouring suppressive fire onto the docking platforms from their defense turrets, driving people away from the ships, killing the ones who didn't get out of the way.

    That was the First Order way. Blast everyone, identify the bodies later. Good tactic for instilling fear and a sense that you completely lack morals in the populace. Great one even. Very Sithy, but not a tactic of my master.

    His apprentice on the other hand...

    “Well, we could steal a starship, you've got experience with that!” He yelled and gestured towards the VCX on the pad. If anything was going to outrun an AAL or a TIE that would be the ship, but as dirty and unkempt as it looked…

    “No go, there's a mothership of some kind in orbit, maybe an Impstar Deuce. We're not going anywhere. We'd just get shot down.” I pulled my mask down over my face and cinched the straps. I pulled my blaster from my boot and looked back towards the AALs.

    “I'm not against fighting but I'm not into suicide, Kid.”

    I grinned under the mask and looked over to the Stormtroopers pouring down the ramp. “Don't worry about that too much. Your armor can take a hit, theirs can't.” I reached down to my side and my hand slid across the hilt of my lightsaber. I hesitated a second, and then holstered my blaster. “I have an idea. Follow my lead.”

    I snapped the lightsaber off my belt and looked down and over the side of the ramp. We were only a few meters up, but the troopers were going to notice us soon enough. There was a balcony maybe fifteen floors down, but that jump would shatter our legs at the very least.

    This was probably going to work. I flipped the lightsaber around in an icepick grip and launched myself off the side of the ramp and into open sky. If I screwed this up it was a long, long way down. The wind blew through my lekku and the side of the building drew closer, I was half way down to the balcony. I licked the ignition catch on the lightsaber and a snap hiss answered me.

    I wrapped my offhand around the hilt and then finally collided with the wall and I felt the wind knocked out of me, but I held my weapon firm. The light saber stabbed firmly into the transparisteel windows and my downwards velocity started to fall immediately while I also tore a large gash in the side of the building.

    They wouldn't miss it. I could blame the stormtroopers if I needed to.

    I felt like my arms were on fire from the strain of arresting my fall by the time my feet hit the balcony, which also didn't feel incredible. I grit my teeth against the pain and twisted the lightsaber before pulling it out of the wall in a sweeping arc, the maneuver sliced a ragged ellipse in the wall, big enough to climb through.

    With that work done, I extinguished the lightsaber and looked up to see how Lucky had fared. I frowned. He was doing just fine, he was repelling casually down the building on a length of high tension cable attached to a winch drum set into his belt.

    “Well Kid, that was definitely a Jedi thing to do. I bet your arms feel great don't they?” he yelled down at me with a laugh.

    I looked past him as my ears picked up the whine of an ion engine, no, multiple ion engines, out of phase with each other. Multiple craft. The familiar whine of a TIE, but something else under it, separate from it.

    I felt the rush of air push me back as a TIE shot past the balcony in a shallow left high speed arc, a moment later another familiar silhouette poured through the same turn, spitting crimson blaster fire after the TIE, a T-65 X-wing starfighter. Taris air defense of some kind?

    Well, at least we weren't the only ones who weren't having a great day.

    “Yeah, they feel spectacular,” I answered Lucky when he finally set down on the balcony next to me. “Looks like someone's putting up a fight, we might get out of this after all.”

    “We could hide out until they leave,” Lucky offered as we ducked into the hole I'd cut in the side of the building.

    I shook my head and dropped down into the dust-covered room. The re-colonization hadn't made it down this far, or had skipped it entirely. I couldn't be sure, and it didn't really matter. “I'm pretty sure they're looking for me. If it was just about the stolen TIE they'd have taken it and left. They blew it up. They don't want me leaving. No, I don't think they're going to leave until they find what they're looking for.”

    “What are they looking for, Kid? What did you do to them?” Lucky asked. He propped his rifle up against his shoulder and was scanning the room, presumably for threats of one kind or another.

    I sighed and flipped my mask up onto my forehead. It was going to come up eventually, either when we both got comfortable enough with each other to truly open up… or once stormtroopers came after me with a vengeance.

    “It's about this,” I said, holding out my lightsaber, “After a fashion, anyway. The short version of the story is that there's a Sith out there named Taelin, and he wants this lightsaber, and possibly, me also.

    “That's why you wanted to shoot Davik. He was treating you like you were property. You escaped from that,” Lucky replied with a nod. “So you ran from this Sith?”

    I shook my head as we pressed deeper into the room, it looked like it was once an apartment, many many centuries ago. The only things left in the room were those that were inorganic, metal, plastics, ceramics. “Not quite like that. I was, well, owned by a different Sith, Taelin's master. Our relationship was... it was pleasant enough. I ran because he died. I stole his lightsaber, faked being Sith, and got off the planet. I wasn't ready or willing to subject myself to Taelin's sadistic impulses.”

    I felt the armored hand on my shoulder and looked up to Lucky, he had his helmet off again. “Alright then Kid, I guess that means I'll have to help you stop this Taelin. My Republic might be gone but my sense of honor isn't. What he's doing to the people on this planet is inexcusable. My mission was to protect Taris, that mission isn't over yet.”

    I nodded and cracked a smile, “You know, you keep calling me Kid. I'm pretty sure I'm actually older than you, carbonite notwithstanding.”

    Lucky laughed and clapped my shoulder before walking past me, “Not in any of the ways that matter, Kid.”

    I snorted and shook my head, “You keep saying that. I'm telling you Lucky I know how to fight just as well as you. You just caught me off guard with that fist to the chin. You've got what, forty kilos on me? Not a fair fight.”

    “Well, if we're very lucky you won't have to prove your skill.”

    “Yes, we're ever so lucky,” I muttered and un-clipped the spotlight from my belt and toggled it on. We'd pushed into a main hallway, outside of what had been an apartment and into the common area of the floor. The walls were eroded, worn down with the fixtures and furnishings long since degraded. Just like before anything organic based was completely absent. Cushions, wooden trimming, any of the fabrics were gone.

    There was something about that that was bothering me, tickling the back of my mind. It made my lekku itch. I was fairly certain that the cause of the itch wasn't the thick layer of dust covering every surface of the corridor.

    I stopped and flicked my light downwards, something was off, I knew something was off. I could feel it, like before when I found Lucky. There was something, some slight vibration I could feel through the floor, through my boots, in my teeth.

    That was it.

    “Lucky, the floor is clean,” I said suddenly and felt my hand reaching towards my blaster as if by its own accord. This was wrong.

    “Kid?”

    “The floor is clean, the walls and everything else is covered with dust so think you could grow crops in it, but the floor is clean. It looks like no-one has lived down here in centuries but the floors are astonishingly clean,” I explained with mounting fear. The itch on my lekku was much stronger, I could feel my muscles trembling. It was cold.

    Lucky stopped and jammed his helmet back down on his head and brought his blaster down, his posture tightened up, he looked like he was ready for a fight. His helmet turned and swept the hallway. “Kid, I don't want to freak you out, but I think I know what's going on,” he started to explain, his voice quieter than I'd ever heard it, barely above a whisper.

    “Go on...” I whispered as I pulled my blaster from its holster. I reached back to scratch my lekku, the sensation didn't abate. I clenched my left hand tight around the grips of my blaster. I felt my joints pop.

    “Rakgouls, I think. We were warned about them in our mission briefing. A creature native to Taris. Mindless, violent, and if you're bitten you turn into one… and that would explain why there's no organic matter of any kind on this level,” he explained quietly. He looked almost like he was shaking.

    Not good.

    “If the floor is clean, that means that they've been walking around on this level,” I said as the realization set in. My subconscious had noticed the discrepancies, I just hadn't been able to consciously put everything together until Lucky filled in the blanks. That was why my lekku itched. We weren't alone.

    “We should go back the way we came,” I said quietly as I looked back towards the apartment we'd left. It wasn't far, a few dozen meters, then we could find some way of scaling back up the side of the building--

    “Too late!” Lucky yelled and then a sound that would haunt me to my grave pierced my ears, a sickening agonized screech and then blaster fire.

    I raised my blaster and turned towards the sound and started firing at an advancing wall of flesh, tens of the creatures, the monsters, poured into the hallway and towards us while we pumped round after round of blaster fire into them.

    The only thing that seemed to slow them down was when the ones in back started to eat the ones we killed. They were starving, they had been starving for so long that they had eaten everything they could manage to eat, and left the walls bare.

    But even that wasn't enough, and two blasters was only slowing them while we ran backwards down the hallway. They were going to catch up and then we were done. I would have really liked a thermal detonator right about then.

    My armor would probably hold up, I'd made it out of an armored imperial flight suit, it was puncture rated, but my lekku were not and, well, having my lekku eaten off of my head was pretty low on the list of things I wanted to experience before I died.

    I dropped my spotlight and snatched my lightsaber from my belt with my right hand while the blaster in my left kept barking out fire at they advancing horde. I snapped my hand down to the side and ignited the blade with a snap hiss.

    The red blade lit up the entire hallway and cast the rakghouls in a glow that would made them look even more menacing, were such a thing possible. I slashed my blade down through the head of a creature that had managed to break through the wall of blaster fire. At least that worked.

    I risked a glance over at Lucky and saw him firing rapid precise shots into the pack; if I had two or three more of him we'd have been just fine. But we didn't.

    I jammed my blaster into the void on my belt left by the spotlight and reached out to my left, towards lucky, and, after fumbling for a moment, snatched the lightsaber off of his belt. A flick of my left thumb and the blue blade hummed into existence.

    The hilt felt different in my hand than my own lightsaber. It felt… louder. Both of my hands clenched down and I lashed out at the attacking horde, wide sweeping slashes, alternating between the blades to keep them driven back, to cut deeply into the beasts that pressed forward.

    My red blade bisected one of the creatures from the shoulder to the hip, its mouth still snapping, trying to bite into warm flesh to sate its hunger as the life left it. The blue blade stabbed down through another beast's head and the follow through tore a furrow in the floor plating.

    The beasts were dying more quickly than I could have hoped, but it was taking a toll on my body, I could feel my muscles trying to lock up as I pushed my body harder than I'd ever done before. It wasn't the death that I feared as much as how it would happen. Or the fear that I'd live and become one of them.

    What would a Sith do?

    I felt the pressure on my leg, one of the creatures was biting down on my armor but hadn't penetrated. The pressure was intense and the crushing pain shot up my leg to my spine.

    My grip on the lightsabers tightened and I screamed as I stabbed the blades down into the creature and drew them apart, splitting the head from the body in a single swipe. I kicked the severed head back into the pack of beasts and felt the sunlight on my back, we'd finally advanced back into the apartment and the balcony.

    Lucky had managed to pry the door open while I was killing beasts. At least we made it where we were going, now we had nowhere to run. I extinguished the blue lightsaber and tucked it into my belt. I was running out of steam and it would only be a matter of time before I made a mistake and cut myself, or dropped the thing.

    I made one last wild swipe at a lunging creature when I felt Lucky's arm wrap tightly around my waist and my feet left the ground. I shut off the red lightsaber and clipped it onto my belt. The world started to fall back into focus, the single minded drive I'd experienced during the fight was fading away and I was able to feel and appreciate just how terrifying it had been.

    “I've got you, Rena. We're alright,” I heard Lucky say. I'd have been in real trouble without him.

    I closed my eyes and tried to calm my heart and my breathing as we lifted up and away from the balcony and back towards the landing platform we'd abandoned not an hour before.

    “I think that's the first time you've actually used my name,” I said with a half-smile as we drew closer to the stormtroopers that were surely waiting for us up above.

    “You earned it. Why don't you follow my lead this time though, alright Kid?”

    “And what's that going to be?” I asked.

    “Well,” he explained as the winch stopped. “We come back in a couple levels under the space port, try to find a lone trooper, and I'll steal his armor. That way I can move around more freely and get a better picture of what's going on.”

    I nodded slowly, my whole body felt sore and was getting worse each minute as the adrenaline wore off. My eyes didn't feel like opening, but that was okay. “Where do I fit into this plan?”

    “You, Kid. You've got the best part of the whole plan. I'm going to find a nice safe place and you're going to get some sleep.”

    I snorted out a decidedly unladylike laugh, “I think I can handle that.”
     
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  5. Threadmark: 5
    Jackie

    Jackie Of Ice and Fire

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    Chapter 5:
    The Soldier​

    BF-1524 had, like all stormtroopers of the First Order, spent his life in the role. Taken as a child from his family, he'd never known the kind of familial love that most children experienced. Instead, he spent his time, from a very young age, learning the ways of being a soldier. Denied even a name, he was a carbon copy, or as close to one as could be managed, of every other trooper in his division.

    His time spent as a soldier had been uneventful, without any major victories or losses. He was well trained, but the relative peace between the Republic and the First Order had meant he'd rarely been deployed, and never against any real opposition. For this reason, while the more seasoned troopers were designated to suppress the local population, he was designated instead as a rear guard, patrolling the perimeter of Taris's docking level for stragglers, hidden civilians that had evaded the first sweep.

    In truth, he preferred a mundane task than one involving active combat, and so he gave it his full attention.

    So focused he was on this task, he never saw the stun blast coming.


    XXX​

    CT-777, 'Lucky', had worn four different suits of armor in his life. The first wouldn't really be called armor in anything other than the most technical sense, it was just for use while he was still growing. He was fond of it, if for no other reason than nostalgia.

    The second set was his first real set of armor, durasteel and could stop a blaster cold, at least once. Heavy, but protective. He spent the majority of his service in this armor. He was fond of it.

    The third set was issued to him shortly before his deployment aboard the Revelation, the cruiser he'd been aboard when he crashed onto Taris. It was lighter, slightly less protective, but afforded him much greater agility. He was also fond of this set of armor.

    The fourth set of armor, the one he wore now, bore none of the traits of the second set of armor. It was ultra lightweight plasteel armor. The fit was imprecise, it felt too light, cheaply made. It would not stop a blaster bolt. He was not fond of this set of armor.

    The blaster was better. He liked the way it felt in his hands, light and balanced. It pointed very naturally and, based on the relative devastation he'd seen the troopers impart on the local population, plenty powerful.

    He frowned behind the visor of the stormtrooper helmet, any time spent wearing this get-up was too much time. It made him feel vulnerable, naked. It made him almost feel sorry for the trooper he'd stunned to get it. The trooper he'd left bound and gagged in the same storeroom that Rena slept in.

    Thinking of her, he felt his lips curling up into a smile. She was, well, he'd never met anyone like her before. He wasn't yet sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. She had the impulsiveness of more than a few young Jedi he'd known.

    At the same time, he wouldn't have really compared her with them. She was different, far more self interested and self serving than any Jedi would be. She'd claimed to be Sith, then claimed that was a lie. But he'd never seen anyone but a Jedi or a Sith use a lightsaber like she had against the Rakghouls. She could have left him behind and run, but she didn't.

    Something about her though, was growing on him. Whether or not that was to be his downfall was another matter entirely. He was, despite his reservations, glad she'd found him. He could have spent another century in that block of carbonite before somebody found him.

    He stepped out of the lift and back onto the docking level and scanned the area quickly, looking for any threats or any indication that he'd been made already, despite his disguise. There were bodies, men, women, some children. Killed, whether to make an example or for resisting, he didn't know.

    At least the storm troopers hadn't been the ones who'd found him. He couldn't really envision any possible positive outcome to that.

    The best case was that he ended up stuck wearing armor like this for the rest of his life. The thought made him shudder.

    It was with a well practiced sense of detachment that he stepped over the bodies that the First Order troops hadn't even had the decency to move or cover. The Jedi would have had something deep to say relating to respect for the dead being a reflection of respect for oneself. They would also probably have had a better plan to get out of this mess as well.

    But, clones were adaptable. That's what made them superior to droids. He would adapt and they would get through this.

    The unmistakeable hum of an activated lightsaber drew his attention, and for a moment he allowed himself to hope. If there was a Jedi here--

    The screams from the other side of the courtyard, on the far side of the landed AATs broke his train of thought. The red glow against permacrete further dashed any hopes of a Jedi rescue. He didn't know any more than what Rena had told him, but he was forced to assumed that this was the Taelin that he'd been warned about.

    The alternative being that there was more than one person out there with a red lightsaber who was willing to kill indiscriminately to get what he wanted. He tightened his grip on the blaster rifle and continued his approach. He had a job to do, he was going to do it.


    XXX​

    BF-1524 woke with a sudden jolt and a headache that was the stuff of legends. His mouth tasted like someone had set fire to a power cell inside of it, a sort of sharp smokey taste with an electric-like bite. He'd been stunned, at a particularly high power setting at that.

    He'd never been stunned before, he'd stunned plenty of people. It felt awful, his brain still wasn't working properly, thoughts were slow to form and difficult to hold onto. Stunner-brain, he'd heard of it, but this was his first experience.

    He squinted his eyes against the painfully bright artificial lighting of the store room and tried roll forward to stand up. Half way into his attempt the ropes he hadn't noticed around his wrists and ankles caught him and he fell over onto his side and knocked his head into the metal grating. “Gah!” he yelled and blinked the tears from his eyes.

    That sudden pain, however, brought him out of his stunner induced stupor and he blinked. He was in a storage room of some kind surrounded by boxes and barrels, the contents of which he didn't care to try to guess.

    There was a noise that drew his attention and he flopped his body over to investigate. His agility hampered by having his hands bound behind his back, it took him several tries to get himself oriented properly.

    A girl. He blinked his eyes and let them slide into focus. There was a girl sleeping against a makeshift pillow made out of cloth sacks, she looked worn out and was sporting a few bruises, mostly on her extremities. She was blue, and also a Twi'lek. Some distant part of BF-1524's memory told him that made her Rutian.

    She was sporting a rather substantial bruise on her jaw, and two more on her lekku, which were laid out above and behind her. She was probably about a meter and a half tall by his estimation, another three quarters of a meter or so of lekku lay stretched out from her head.

    And she was snoring loud enough to wake the dead.

    There was something important about these details that was right at the edge of his still slowly functioning mind. Rutian Twi'lek, female, young...ish. He shook his head, what was he doing on Taris again? Something about--

    “Oh,” he said suddenly to himself as the pieces fell into place.

    This girl was the target, she was the reason they were on Taris in the first place. Darth Taelin was avenging the death of his master, this slave had killed him and stolen his lightsaber, and then a TIE fighter.

    He frowned, she didn't look like she was capable of that kind of thing. If she was the slave he'd heard rumors about, Taelin's master had a romantic relationship with her, beyond that of simple master and slave.

    At least that was the rumor. It had spread like wildfire among the rank and file, as rumors are won't to do.

    With that in mind, and finally seeing her in front of him, he had his doubts. Maybe watching somebody sleep made them seem more innocent, maybe he simply didn't have the stomach for killing. In any case, he found his resolve to complete the mission, and to obey orders, slipping.

    He also knew she couldn't have been the one to stun him, there was no way she'd have been able to move him, not at her size and not with those injuries, minor as they might be. She had somebody else with her. There had been a report of a man in white armor with a blaster.

    He looked down at him chest, he was wearing the black under clothing that every trooper wore under their armor, but his own armor was missing. That explained why he'd been stunned, for a disguise. He hadn't been killed.

    He hadn't been killed, but she was meant to have killed a Sith Lord? And whoever she was with, that man in the armor, he'd had the jump on him. Killing him would have been simple.

    The story he'd been told didn't really add up. He'd seen the way Taelin behaved upon landing, and he saw the aftermath of the orders the Sith had given. Dozens, maybe hundreds of dead civilians. Shock and awe. It was Taelin working off his anger.

    Things were simpler, much more straight forward, and more palatable when the Sith weren't involved.

    XXX​

    Lucky thumbed the activation catch on the thermal detonator and hurled it over the smoking remains of the land speeder he was taking cover behind. The mission had been recon not combat and yet he found himself engaging stormtroopers in a fighting retreat towards the lower levels.

    He wasn't supposed to get involved any more than to get some intel and get back out. But, troopers had civilians lined up against a wall with blasters at the ready. There were kids. It had to be kids. He couldn't let that stand.

    So he shot them, and they chased him, and now he was hiding behind a hunk of burning durasteel that used to be a vehicle.

    The thermal detonator exploded in a wave of hot plasma and the ground shook under Lucky, and a part of him enjoyed it. He was a soldier, and this was war. It wasn't the war he was meant for, but it felt rewarding to have a purpose again.

    He stuck his head over the edge of the speeder wreck to look at his handiwork; three storm troopers were down. He counted at least six arms. It wasn't pretty. Thermal detonators never were. He didn't feel sorry, those troopers were going to execute kids, and he shot them, and they shot back.

    But the explosion was sure to draw more attention. He checked his blaster rifle and backed away from his cover in a crouch, his head scanning side to side for any other troopers nearby. Seeing none that were still in the fight, or for that matter alive, he finally turned and took off at a sprint towards the access lift back to the lower levels.

    He'd saved what civilians he could. The kids had gotten away. He'd tipped his hand to the enemy, but in his mind there'd never been a choice. Not really. There was only one thing left for him to do, and that was to make sure Rena was safe. She needed to know what he'd learned.

    He needed to know she was alright.

    He clenched his hand tightly around the grip of his blaster rifle. There was a stormtrooper he needed to have a conversation with.
     
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  6. Threadmark: 6
    Jackie

    Jackie Of Ice and Fire

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    Chapter 6:
    Three​

    The artificial lighting of the storage room gave way to the sum of all of the aches and pains I'd earned the previous day. My lekku felt like they'd been caught in an airlock. Memories of the brief fight I'd had with Lucky told me the reason why.

    I pushed myself up to a sitting position and winced. Ribs were sore, arms were a little stiff. My leg was bruised up where I'd been bitten, though the armor had stopped the skin from being broken. It hadn't stopped the muscle and bone from being crushed. It wasn't broken, but I'd probably be limping.

    Then there were the innumerable cuts and scrapes, and the headache that hadn't stopped in over a day.

    My kingdom for a bacta tank.

    I shook my head, the sudden pain in my head woke me the rest of the way up. Bacta sounded really good right about then. First thing was first though, I needed to get back into my armor; I couldn't very well walk around Taris in my undergarments.

    I spotted my lightsaber first, it was laying along the makeshift bedroll to my right. Beyond the lightsaber, the mask I'd made from a TIE pilot helmet lay against a crate, along with the under suit from my armor. The armor itself was absent. I frowned. It had been there when I went to sleep.

    A rustling sound behind me drew my attention and I turned around to my left. There was a human man sitting against a row of crates, his hands and feet bound. There was a fresh looking bruise on his face. He looked bored. He was watching me. I raised my right hand and waved. “Hello?”

    “You're finally awake. I've been watching you sleep for the last six hours. Don't take it the wrong way, there just wasn't anything else to do. I'm a bit tied up,” The man explained in a completely deadpan tone. I couldn't tell if he was defective in some way, or if this was his way of lightening the situation. Maybe both.

    “You are tied up. How did that happen?” I asked. I shifted myself forward and pushed myself to my feet. May as well put on the undersuit at least.

    “Blaster set on stun. Your friend needed my armor for a disguise,” he explained. “He told me this when he came back a few hours ago and punched me in the face.”

    I nodded as I stepped into my pants. They were comfortable if simple, a soft synthetic black cloth of some origin. I wasn't a seamstress. “Oh. Stormtrooper?”

    “Stormtrooper.”

    Figures. Stormtroopers were all a little weird, at least when a commanding officer wasn't looking, I'd met enough of them to know that. My pants secure, I grabbed the top half of my undersuit off the floor and shook the dust off of it. “So, serial number?”

    “BF-1524.” He recited the number flatly, like he'd probably done thousands of times before. Definitely a stormtrooper.

    “I'm going to call you Biff.” I decided after a few long moments of consideration. It seemed to fit in a strange way, and it would be easy to remember.

    He frowned at me, “Is that necessary?”

    I shrugged, “You tell me, Biff. So, I'm guessing you know who I am?”

    “You're Rena Van, aren't you?” He asked.

    “That's right. So that means Taelin's here, isn't he? I was hoping I'd be in Republic space before he caught up to me. I guess that didn't work out.” I felt my neck pop when I pushed my head through the undersized hole in the undershirt. It didn't feel half bad.

    “He's trying to kill his way to you. He doesn't seem to care that nobody actually knows who you are or where you're hiding.”

    “That sounds about right, from what I've seen. How's that shiner treatin ya?”

    I turned my head towards the new voice. Lucky was back, and he was carrying… armor? “I trust you had a productive time at the spaceport?”

    “You might say. Your friend Taelin is going to be very angry with us. I also need a new thermal detonator.” He shrugged and set the armor he was carrying down on one of the crates. It looked similar to, yet not quite exactly like stormtrooper armor.

    “I'm sure we can figure out where to get another one of those. Did Biff here have one?” I asked and gestured to our involuntary companion.

    “He's where I got the first one. Came in handy.”

    I shook my head and laughed. “Yeah, I bet. So what's the armor for?”

    “I made you a gift.”

    XXX​



    It was comfortable, in a way that the TIE pilot's suit hadn't been. It didn't really convey the menacing dark appearance that I'd wanted to convey; I certainly didn't look the part of a Sith Lord, that much was certain.

    “Normally they wouldn't let an alien be a storm trooper, but you almost look the part.”

    “Thank you for that, Biff.” I muttered at the still bound man. That was the thought that had been going through my mind as well, and it was a less than pleasant one.

    “Nah, it's a custom job, that armor is. Sure, I made it out of storm trooper armor, but it's thicker and stronger. I based it on phase two clone armor. It'll be a lot stronger than that pilot's suit she was wearing,” Lucky interjected as I modeled the armor for the two of them.

    It was definitely strudier, fit better too. And, as I discovered upon testing the limits of my flexibility, it offered a much wider range of motion. I stretched out my arm and clenched a fist. Yeah, it would work just fine.

    “Well, if we have to go back down into the apartment levels maybe this will hold up better against rakghoul bites,” I commented with a shrug. I snatched my lightsaber from my belt, the black of the hilt stood in stark contrast to the gloss white of my gauntlet.

    The lightsaber felt warm in my hand, comforting, like it had before. There was something nagging at the back of my mind, an itch on the lekku. I could feel, sense, there was an uncomfortable truth that I would have to face in the near future, the nature of it was the only thing left to figure out.

    Was there something more to me that my master had seen? That he'd sensed? Was I more to him than just a--

    “You like it, then?” Lucky's voice broke my train of thought.

    I blinked and turned towards him, “Yeah. Yeah I like it. Take a little getting used to.”

    He nodded, “I would have done something for a helmet but ah, lekku don't exactly make that easy.”

    “Story of my life.” I tilted my head towards Biff. “So, what are we going to do with him?”

    Lucky turned and regarded the bound storm trooper. “That's a very good question. Any thoughts?”

    The corner of my mouth curled down. That was a very good question. I was supposed to be the (fake) Sith Lord right? Time to make decisions and act like it! I dropped down to a crouch, not that it was really that far down to meet the trooper's eye level.

    He stared at me, not quite wide-eyed un-blinking terror, but there was some fear. Not so much that he was afraid of me, he was afraid of what might be decided. There would be time later to question why I felt that about him. For now, though…

    “So BF-1524. Biff. What do you think we should do with you?” I asked him in what I thought was a nice and even, non-threatening tone.

    He blinked and then stared directly at me, something in his face shifted, I'd actually managed to confuse him. It was probably the first time in his life that he'd actually been faced with a decision of that magnitude

    “Miss. Er, Rena? I don't understand.”

    “Well, what do you want to do? What do you want me to do with you? You're not a droid, you're a human man. You can make choices can't you? First Order probably already thinks you're dead, but I'm sure they'd take you back if we let you go,” I explained, still keeping that level tone. I kept a tight grip on my lightsaber hilt.

    He paled a bit at that last bit, very interesting. I nodded and continued, “The other option of course is you could come with us. I've got a feeling about you that maybe Taelin's brand of killing his way through every planet he visits isn't exactly your kind of celebration.”

    I felt Lucky tense up alongside me, likely casting a disapproving glare at me. No matter, it was all up to Biff at this point.

    “And you'd trust me, just like that? You don't even know me,” he protested. I suppressed a laugh, he was trying to negotiate against his own release, even if he didn't realize it. I knew better though.

    “Trust has got to start somewhere. Besides, you're not the first storm trooper I've met. You know who my master was; I was with him everywhere he went. I've met enough troopers to spot the true believers, and you're not one. So,” I paused and ignited my lightsaber, then brought the edge of the blade against his wrist and ankle restraints to split the bonds, “where do you want to go from here?”

    He stretched his arms and worked his wrists and shoulders, he'd been tied up for a while so that wasn't too surprising. “Well, Taris isn't exactly a vacation paradise. Can you get me off the planet?”

    I turned to glance at Lucky out of the corner of my eye. He seemed to be willing to go along with my decision, for now at least. He nodded, “As it happens that's exactly what we're trying to do.”

    “I guess that settles it then. Get dressed and grab your blaster. We're getting out of here.”


    XXX​


    In-ear comm-links were cheap and ubiquitous, so much so that it was trivial for Lucky and Biff to source a matched set of them to assist in executing the plan for our eventual escape from Taris, despite the current First Order presence in the local spacceport.

    That having been said, it had always been my firmly held belief that said in-ear comm-links were one of the universe's most gross miscarriages of technology, and a conspiracy of the highest order. They were cheap and universal to the point that bone conduction comm-links were expensive and nearly impossible to find.

    That wouldn't be a problem if not for the quirk of Twi'lek physiology that meant females of the species didn't actually have an ear orifice to place the comm-link into, a gross oversight indeed for the second most populous species in the galaxy.

    This meant that I was stuck with a hand-held comm unit, all because I didn't have an extra hole in my head. The universe is funny sometimes.

    Stealth wasn't really going to be on the menu for the evenings festivities, neither Lucky nor I were going to blend in no matter what we did, and Biff, well, Lucky used his armor to declare war on Taelin, so he was probably persona non grata by now. They'd shoot first and ask questions if he survived.

    I clenched my fist down on the hilt of my lightsaber, and felt that feeling again. I'd been favoring it over my blaster for a while, even thought originally it was only a bluff. Somewhere along the way I felt more comfortable fighting with it than I did with a blaster.

    For this mission, it would do. We were going to make a run on the YT freighter and steal it. To accomplish that I was going to get everyone's attention directed at me.

    I had to admit, I felt pleasure in it.

    My thumb was tight against the ignition catch, my left hand pressed into the door panel and I shoved the access hatch into the moonlight. The cold night Tarisian air hit me and I suppressed a shiver. It was invigorating.

    I clicked the comm three times and slid it into my belt. That was the signal, to let them know it was beginning.

    I took my first step out into the open and cracked my neck. This was the fun part. At least that's what I kept telling myself.

    My thumb snapped down on the ignition catch and the lightsaber snapped to life with a bright red glow and a hum. My left foot hit the ground first and I launched myself forward into a maniac sprint. My leg hurt from the wounds sustained earlier, but with the stims Lucky had given running through my system I didn't much care.

    There was a storm trooper twenty meters ahead of me, he was slowly turning in my direction. The saber had drawn his attention, or maybe it was the sound of my boots crashing down on the permacrete. I licked my bottom lip. Ten meters, eight. He raised his blaster rifle. Six meters, he fired.

    I swung my lightsaber in a lazy arc to the left and chopped the bolt out of the air. Four, three, two meters. I jumped and drew the blade back to my right with everything I had. The blade hissed through the trooper's armor and he hit the ground with a thud.

    He wasn't moving.

    There would be more.

    I kept running along the perimeter of the space port courtyard, the AAL was ahead to my left, the bodies of the fallen littered the grounds. No attempt had been made to tend to the dead, either because the First Order wouldn't let them, or because there were too few left to do it. It was disgusting, but it made me feel better about what I so desperately wanted to do to Taelin.

    One circuit, that would be around five minutes, it would take seven at least for them to board the freighter and start the engines.

    Blaster bolts hit the ground around me, I couldn't afford to break concentration. I was relying on a guess, on a chance that what I suspected, what I feared was actually true.

    I snatched my blaster pistol from my hip in my left hand and fired a flurry of bolts at the trooper ahead of me who was guarding a makeshift checkpoint. What they needed a checkpoint for when they were simply killing people I didn't know, and didn't care.

    The trooper took a hit to the arm and went down into cover behind a portable barricade. I readied my blade to strike down through it to take him out. I would express my displeasure for Taelin, for his tactics, through my body count against the people he used to enact them.

    This last trooper, then I'd make the turn, skirt around the AAL, and make for the landing platform.

    I grit my teeth and planted my boots against the ground and swung the blade down against the top of the barricade--

    My blade stopped short, I kept pushing to continue the swing but it wasn't moving at all. I turned my head slowly to the right, the sick, cold feeling gripping at my guts told me everything my eyes had yet to. Another red blade was perpendicular to my own, under mine and blocking it from continuing.

    “Hello Slave, I've been looking for you.”
     
  7. Threadmark: 7
    Jackie

    Jackie Of Ice and Fire

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    Chapter 7:
    Master and Slave​

    The cold grip of fear grew tight around my insides. This had always been a possibility, but I had counted on being gone before he came to me. But he had shown up, and he's said those words.

    I pulled away from him and brought my lightsaber back to the guard position. My whole body was trembling, my mouth was dry and sticky. This wasn't a fight I could win, but I had always known that. He didn't need to know that.

    I clenched down tight on my saber hilt and felt the warmth flow into me. If I could do even a fraction of what my master had done with this blade, just maybe... “Taelin, surprised it took you this long. Get lost without our master to guide you?” I taunted with a smirk.

    My left hand rested on the comm-link clipped to my belt. A subtle flick of my thumb and I locked the broadcast switch into continuous transmit. I could only hope somebody was listening.

    “It seems you've forgotten your place, bed warmer. I'll quite enjoy returning you to it!” he yelled back at me, I could see his muscles tensing, I had angered him. Good.

    “My place was at his side, not at yours!” I yelled back and brought my blade up, when it came to blows…

    “Your place was in his bed, slave.”

    I brought my free hand up to the saber hilt and gripped tightly, my muscles were tensed up, ready to let it all out in a single blow. “Yes, but not yours. He wouldn't allow you that when he was alive, I won't allow that when he's dead.

    “You'll allow whatever I please when I remove your limbs,” he snarled and lunged at me.

    All the tension that was building up in my arms released at once and I snapped my blade up to deflect his blow. Our blades crashed together and I was driven back again. I turned with the blow and used my momentum to strike back against him, my blade slammed into his with a crash. “You can try, and you can fail!”

    I pushed to slide my blade down his toward his hand and my feet left the ground and the air left my lungs. He'd force-pushed me away from him. Was I giving him more trouble than he expected me to, or was he toying with his food?

    My feet hit the ground first and I took a knee to avoid falling backwards. I licked my bottom lip and grinned, “You know Taelin, I might think you're a little jealous. One might get the impression that you want me because I was with him.”

    I pushed myself back onto my feet and brought my lightsaber back up to guard, the warmth radiating from the hilt was almost enough to make me giddy, “That is it, isn't it? You're jealous that he shared a part of himself with me that you'd never got to feel, am I right?”

    “The only thing you will feel, Slave, is pain!” He snarled and launched himself at me, a force assisted lunge with his blade held out as if to impale me outright.

    My grip tightened and I swung to deflect his blow into the ground and followed up with a punch from my left hand. Taelin was strong in the force, but not as strong as my master. He was still just a man of flesh, and flesh would yield.

    “No, I don't feel pain! I feel his passion!” I screamed as I threw him back from me and brought my blade back to the ready, the hilt felt like fire in my hand, the heat coursed through my whole body. “and through that passion I gain strength!”

    He lashed out again, pressed the attack with a fury I'd never seen. It didn't matter, I felt like I was on fire, every nerve ending in my body was tingling and I'd never felt stronger. My blade moved through the air with a fluid grace I'd seen it possess before, but not in my hand. Each slash was parried, ground gained, ground lost, I kept my guard.

    “Though that strength, I gain power. Through power, I gain victory!” I yelled, remembering the words my master had taught me, so many years ago. They had been just words then, but in this moment I was finding meaning to them, in this fight. But now, I felt like I could take on the universe. I was fighting with a power that didn't seem real.

    Taelin blocked my attack and forced my lightsaber down and to the side, his fist connected with my jaw and I felt blood filling the inside of my mouth. I spit it into his face and bashed my left fist into his face in return. “Through victory, my chains are broken. I will never be your slave, or anyone elses! My name is Rena Van, you will remember it!”

    “I will take you alive, Slave, if only so that you can live to see how very wrong you are!” He snarled at me as he force pushed me away again. I hit my feet and slid backwards a couple meters. I would not go down again. The fight had carried us away from the AAL, towards the edge of the courtyard, along my left side was a two meter drop. I would hold here, or I'd fall down to the next platform and he'd have the high ground.

    “Taking me? Taelin, taking me won't change the fact that our master shared his bed with me and not you. That's something you'll never attain.The comm-link on my hip vibrated and I snapped my free hand down to it and brought it up to my ear. I'd been transmitting this entire time, and I'd forgotten. Somebody decided to reply in the middle of a fight?

    “Your clone friend cannot help you now, Slave. I will have you, and I will take you. You belong to me!” He snarled as he began his slow advance, his blade glowing angrily in the moonlight.

    I felt a tickling itch on the back of my lekku, and heard just the hint of an ion engine in the distance. My thoughts drifted to earlier and I couldn't have kept the smile off my lips if I'd tried. After that entire fight, after all the emotions I'd poured out, the hate and fear, it was taking its toll on my body. I was nearing my limit, and I couldn't help but laugh.

    The comm-link crackled to life. “Fastball three to Rena Van. Duck.”

    I snapped my thumb down on the ignition catch and extinguished my blade. “You know what? You're right, he can't.” I admitted to him, right before I left my left leg collapse and I fell over the side of the platform.

    I hit the platform below me and felt the wind knocked out of me, an instant before the screaming of an ion engine running at full throttle pierced the relative quiet and a T-65 X-wing firing dual-linked laser blasts streaked overhead.

    The civil defense star-fighters hadn't been shot down, not all of them. I'd meant to contact Lucky and Biff, but Taris spaceport defense was just as good. They must have been listening in. And they'd warned me too, that was a nice touch.

    Another X-wing came in from the same direction, they were staggering their passes to keep Taelin on the defensive, but I had no illusions that this would kill him. No, nothing would be that easy or clean.

    I felt like I'd been hit by a landspeeder, but at least I hadn't landed on my lekku. That was the kind of thing you felt for about a year. My armor had taken most of the force of the fall, but I still felt like I had a bruised rib or two.

    I rolled over onto my stomach and was pushing myself up when a hand grabbed my shoulder and pulled me up. For a moment I was ready to ignite my lightsaber and take him out, but then he spoke. “Come on Rena. Lucky's going to meet us with the ship.”

    I put my arm on the trooper's shoulder to help steady myself. “Biff, Lucky's not a pilot.”

    “Maybe you should tell him that. He seems to think he is.”



    XXX​


    The YT-1300 layout was a familiar one to any spacer who'd been at it for more than a few months. As one of the most prolific ships in the galaxy, most everyone had experience as a passenger, if not as crew. I was immensely thankful for this familiarity as I staggered towards the cockpit at the fastest pace I could manage.

    “You saw the X-wings right? There's going to be TIEs all over the place in a few minutes. We need to get out of here now,” I called over my shoulder to Biff, who'd stopped to bring the ramp up. I hoped the limp was temporary, an artifact of pushing myself way harder than I ought to have.

    “I've got the ramp, then!” Biff yelled after me.

    The cockpit was only a few meters down the connecting corridor, and I was at Lucky's side in a matter of moments. A few awkward motions to get myself into the pilot's seat and I was sitting at the controls. Lucky had taken the co-pilot's position, either because he didn't know the difference or because he was saving this chair for me. It didn't matter either way.

    “Well, you didn't crash, so that's a plus. What made you think you could fly this thing anyway?” I asked as I gripped the controls and started shunting power into the repulsor coils. The ship shuddered very slightly and lumbered upwards.

    “Necessity is the mother of all improvisation. If you can fly, I figured it couldn't be too hard, right Kid?” he said with a laugh. Well, of course he could laugh, he had the easy job!

    “Sure, why not?” I said with a shake of my head. I pulled in the landing gear and pushed the main throttle forward while cutting the repulsors down to idle. The ship lurched inelegantly forward away from the spaceport tower. The ship hadn't been locked out, and it hadn't left before we stole it. The original crew was either dead or captured, there was nothing I could do for them in either case.

    “If you and Biff wanna take the turrets, we're probably gonna have way more fun than we know how to deal with in a couple minutes,” I said with a glance over at lucky.

    I reached up over my head and started charging up the deflector shields and the hyperdrive capacitors. If we could punch into orbit fast enough, we might be able to make a hyperspace jump before the star destroyer that had to be in orbit could lock on a tractor beam.

    When I discovered that Taelin was adamant on taking me alive, that opened a whole bunch of new avenues for me. He couldn't exactly keep a corpse chained to his bed, not for very long anyway, and it seemed that was his plan for me after all.

    Some things he hadn't managed to learn from my master, respect being chief among them.

    “Turrets are stuck forward, it was one of the first things we checked. Fire control is routed to the cockpit, so at least they fire. Probably.” He explained. That was just what I wanted to hear.

    “Great, so we're in the galaxy's largest, slowest, and most poorly armed starfighter.” I sighed and pushed the throttles up higher.

    “At least we're flying.”

    “We're flying a bathtub.” I muttered, then toggled the comm system online. Those X-wings had called me on my comm-link, maybe I could reach them on the freighter's comm. I took a moment to reset the frequency to the one I'd been using earlier.

    “Fastball three, this is Rena Van. Do you copy?” If they'd helped me before, they just might do it again. Maybe they'd just figured if I was fighting the bad guy that I was the good guy, or maybe they just felt sorry for the girl they were about to drop an airstrike on.

    They were still our best hope at the moment.

    Rena Van, this is Fastball three, go ahead.”

    “Fastball three, thanks for the assist. You really pulled me out of the fire back there. Think you're up for an encore? I've appropriated a YT-1300 freighter, and we're trying to punch through to hyperspace en-route to the Hosnian system.” I explained, as I rolled the ship through a lazy arc to check for pursuit.

    Negative, First Order interdictor cruiser is in orbit. Nobody's leaving the planet for now. Come left to zero-five-six and we'll escort you to safety.”

    “Copy Fastball, Rena Van out.” I sighed and leaned back against the seat. Always a complication, but it made sense. The X-wings would have bugged out for help if they could have. Even an old T-65 was a hyperspace capable ship. Even Taelin wouldn't be stupid enough to stick around if a republic cruiser dropped into orbit on top of him.

    I brought the ship into a lazy left turn in time to see a trio of X-wings, painted in old rebellion colors, form up around us.

    “You know, I never thought I'd be happy to see myself surrounded by X-wings. This has been a very interesting day.”

    Lucky snorted and put his hand on my shoulder, “Kid, you haven't seen anything yet.”
     
  8. Threadmark: 8
    Jackie

    Jackie Of Ice and Fire

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    Chapter 8:
    Relative​



    Safety was, as always, a relative term. The freighter's controls were sluggish, spongy, as we descended through the central shaft of a long, long abandoned spaceport. Around the perimeter were rusted blast doors leading to long since collapsed hanger bays, with only a single strip of artificial lighting to guide us towards one of the few bays still open.

    Where the spaceport we'd left was atop one of the remaining buildings of what was once a world-spanning city, this spaceport was a prefabricated type at ground level. It actually dated to after the destruction of the world-city, despite being in much worse shape.

    Then again, if the ground level of Taris was even half as populated with rakgouls as that apartment level had been, there was every reason to have abandoned this place.

    The in-cockpit cue chimed and indicated that I was at the correct altitude for the assigned landing bay. I stepped into the etheric rudder and the ship rotated around to face a blast door that was already retracting into the shaft walls. I eased the ship forward on thrusters through the gap.

    While not glamorous or exciting, this was the kind of flying I liked the best, as this was the kind of flying that was least likely to get me killed.

    I retro braked with the forward thrusters as we crossed over the threshold into the hanger. The far side of the bay was cluttered with various support equipment, with starfighter berthings closer, some of them occupied by older T-65 model X-wings, like the one flown by Fastball Three, and a couple BTL Y-wings and a solitary RZ-1 A-wing.

    The Y-wings seemed obvious for a civil defense squadron, they were cheap, durable, and powerful. The A-wing was a little more surprising as those were a bit more maintenance intensive. That having been said, all of the fighters were old and probably weren't terribly expensive to buy in the first place. The open berths told me that some of the fighters were still in the air, or else had been shot down.

    As old as a T-65 was, the pilots that did make it back had to have been exceptional, as they were fairly outclassed by the newer model of TIE the First Order used.

    For the first time in my life, I was thrilled to be around such skilled X-wing pilots. But, in this case, we had the same enemy. I'd planned on defecting anyway, right?

    I chopped power to the repulsors and settled the freighter down on the permacrete floor of the hanger, which I now assumed to be the base of operations for the air defense fleet.

    I shut down the engines and waited for a long moment as the whine of the power converters spun down. That had probably been the least eventful flight of my life, but also only about the third one I'd personally piloted.

    “Well, this part's probably going to be interesting.”

    Of course it would, three people wearing armor in stormtrooper white in a stolen freighter, in what was probably a civil air defense base, and I was carrying a red lightsaber.

    “Thanks for the vote of confidence, Lucky. Let's grab Biff and face the music.”

    “We should leave out the part where he's only here for you.” Lucky suggested as he climbed out of his seat.

    I nodded and laughed, “Yeah, you're probably right.”

    XXX​

    My gait was awkward, strained, as we walked down the freighter's ramp. Bruised muscles and torn ligaments ground painfully together under my skin. I'd fought Taelin to nearly a stalemate, but it had taken its toll on me. Had the fight lasted any longer I doubt I'd have had the endurance to keep going.

    Lucky stayed close on my side, whether to catch me if I might fall, or to impose himself between me and anyone who might attack, I didn't know. With him it could really have gone either way. I wouldn't say that he'd become my best friend over night, but for the moment we were each the only person the other could really count on. For whatever that was worth, anyway.

    In this world, we really only had each other. My own family was long forgotten, his brothers long dead.

    Maybe--

    “Rena Van? Somehow I expected someone… hmm.”

    I turned to face this new voice, a human, taller than me, shorter than Lucky, with an older style Rebellion era helmet and an orange flight suit. An X-Wing pilot.

    “Taller?” I asked with a look of bemusement.

    “Older,” he answered, “You look a little young for what I just saw out there. Never seen somebody fight a Sith like that before.”

    I felt Lucky's hand pressing on my shoulder and he stepped alongside me, “I have. It's what a Jedi would do.”

    A Jedi? Was he trying to imply--

    “There aren't many of those left around, unfortunately. But I've been rude, I haven't introduced myself yet. I'm Des Fulmin, I was flying that X-Wing that strafed your fight at the spaceport,” The man offered with a slight bow.

    “Fastball Three?” I asked, even knowing the answer.

    “The very same. Now,” he paused and glanced over Lucky, and then Biff. “I'm sure that there's a very interesting story about what's happened today, and an even better one about your… attire. I know some people who are just dying to hear it.”

    XXX​

    “The truth might be a good place to start.”

    Those were words I hadn't wanted to hear, but not words I hadn't expected. Not really. Of all the ways the meeting could have gone, I was more inclined to believe it would be more stick than carrot, but apparently wielding a red light saber gets you in a lot less trouble when you're using it to try to kill the bastard that's been killing everyone in the city.

    “Which part of the truth, exactly?”

    The man's unamused look was all the answer I needed as to which part of the truth he was seeking; the whole truth and nothing but. I hadn't had the best relationship with the truth, but I wasn't really in a very strong bargaining position, Sith or not. I just had to make sure their hospitality didn't run out too soon.

    “Right, well, there are a few details I'll be leaving out, you're just going to have to accept that… and there are a few things that my companions here will be hearing for the first time.”

    He remained silent, Lucky and Biff were no different in that regard. That wasn't unexpected. The clone had been my, for lack of a better word, friend, for little more than a day, and the stormtrooper was… a stormtrooper.

    I cracked my knuckles and leaned forward in my chair, tried and failed to suppress a flinch brought on by the sudden pain through most of my muscles when I did it.

    “So the man commanding those stormtroopers, who tore up the space port, is a Sith Apprentice named Taelin.” I explained levelly.

    It was Des that spoke up this time, rather than his Commander, who had yet to actually introduce himself. “Can we expect his Master to show up?”

    I felt a sudden pang of sadness, but I pushed it aside. I wouldn't show that emotion in front of these people, not now. “He's dead. You won't have to worry about that. He would never have done anything like this. No, this is Taelin throwing a tantrum because he's not allowed to have what he considers to be his favorite toy.”

    “And what would that be, Miss Van?” The older man, whom I assumed to be the Commander, asked.

    Something about the way he looked at me, I didn't like it. It made my lekku itch. I'd been looked at by men like that before. The look of a man wondering what exactly he could get from using me.

    I frowned and turned my attention to Des, “Do you consider yourself a man of honor? A man of… conviction?”

    He frowned and shook his head, “I don't get what you're trying to ask. What does that have to do with the question Commander Basteer asked?”

    So he did have a name.

    “I'm asking you, Des, why did you help me? You saw the blade I was using, you wear the colors of the Rebellion, you know what that blade means. You helped me, you didn't have to warn me. So tell me, Des Fulmin; are you a man of honor, or was that just quid pro quo? That comlink was open, you heard the entire conversation, but you're not saying anything to your Commander.”

    “What exactly are you trying to imply?” the man, Basteer, demanded. He raised himself from his chair to his full height. This wasn't a conversation it was an interrogation, wasn't it?

    I had to wonder what cards he was holding if he thought that he could take two stormtroopers and a Sith in a fight like this.

    “Commander,” I started, my voice calm, cool. I stayed seated. “I have seen that look on many faces in my life. You are trying to size up what I am worth to you. I understand that, it's natural, but I won't be used. I've had enough of that. That is what I came here to run from.”

    To my side, Lucky had already sprung to his feet and looked ready to fight. For his part, Biff had taken up a flanking position as well. Either I'd made an impression on him, or he felt that his fate was linked with mine.

    It made a girl feel important.

    I stood between my companions to look the Commander in the eye, or as close as I could get to that.

    “So I asked if he was a man of honor, because when I tell you what you want to know, only a man of honor would resist the temptation that I know you must surely be feeling. The thing that Taelin seeks on this world is the lightsaber I wear on my belt… and me. He believes that I belong to him, as I belonged to his Master.”

    I could feel the sudden change in the atmosphere of the room, the emotions running through Biff and Lucky, the shock from Des, the plotting from his Commander.

    The Commander straightened his shirt and stared me down, “So admitting that you're Sith, that you're Imperial… What exactly is it you plan to do if I decide to let you go? What are you going to do to make up for what you brought here?”

    “Now you wait just a minute, you can't blame this girl for what the Sith has done. She didn't hold a blaster to his head to make him come here, to do what he did to your people! She's as much a victim as any of you!” Lucky yelled from my side.

    Even like this, wounded and exhausted as I was, I had no doubt in my mind that I could kill him where he stood before he could draw his blaster. That he thought my fate rested in his hands at all was almost laughable… but there was a better way. Something Lucky would approve of.

    “Commander Basteer, I am not like Taelin. I may be closer to his Master, but I am still my own woman. I did not come here as your enemy or to fight you. But I will not be your prisoner or your pawn. I will simply do what must be done. I will kill Taelin.” I explained with a hard edge in my voice. I let my hand rest on my hip, near the hilt of my lightsaber.

    The thing about false bravado was that after I kept at it long enough, I found myself believing in it, that I was and could be a real Sith.

    Or a Jedi, the voice in the back of my head said, unbidden.

    “So be it then. These are desperate times and so they call for desperate measures,” the Commander said to me, then directed his attention to Des, “Fulmin, she will be your responsibility while she on this installation.”

    XXX​

    Des kept pace alongside me as we walked towards the freighter we'd left in the hangar. He felt different about me now, now that I'd confirmed what he surely had suspected when he listened over the comm, I could sense this much.

    “I didn't know it was that bad--” He started.

    “I don't need or want your pity. I'm fine. We have work to do,” I forced out through clenched teeth. I didn't need to remember, not right now.

    He shrugged and took a step in front of me. Size for size he was definitely much larger than me, but what did that mean anymore? “Fine, then would you really have killed him?”

    I stopped and looked up at him, “I am Sith. I could have killed everyone in that room if I wanted to.”

    He raised his brow and looked past me, at Lucky and Biff, and then back into my eyes. “Like you said, I heard everything over that comlink. You're not actually Sith. And that doesn't actually answer the question.”

    I felt the lightsaber against my hip, put my hand against it and walked around him. “And yet, you saw how I fought him. So maybe I am closer to Sith than you, or I, think.”

    “Fine then, Sith. It's not like I like Basteer any more than you do, and for what it's worth I would have done what I could have to stop him from using you as a bargaining chip. Maybe I wouldn't have had to. What is your plan?” He finally asked.

    I looked at him over my shoulder, and at Lucky and Biff taking up positions behind him, following us. “Well, I do have an idea. You said there's an interdictor in orbit? I might know where to find a star destroyer to take care of that problem.”

    “Now that is definitely an idea.” He said with a laugh.

    “Well, I am a girl who knows how to have a good time.”
     
  9. darthdavid

    darthdavid That Guy

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    This is really good. I've always enjoyed fics with force users coming at it from a different angle.
     
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  10. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    I like this fic. A lot.
     
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  11. AyiosKat

    AyiosKat Strategissa of Constantinople

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    Yay for sensible Sith!
     
  12. Jackie

    Jackie Of Ice and Fire

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    I don't know if i could call Rena Van 'sensible'
     
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  13. AyiosKat

    AyiosKat Strategissa of Constantinople

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    Well more sensible then most at least
     
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  14. iamnuff

    iamnuff Well worn.

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    Hmm. Lucky's deal is a little confusing. Too much happening between chapters.

    It's never mentioned when she said that the republic fell, and her comment that "you won" rather makes it sound like the opposite.

    Is he an original clone-trooper from the clone-wars? (The republic that turned into the empire lead by Darth Sidious)
    Edit: googled "lucky clone-trooper" and got a result for a canon clone called Lucky. He died though, and I have no idea if he ever went to taris. Or even if Taris was ever relevant again after swtor.
    The whole planet got bombed into the dirt and then infested with virulent monsters, I'm not sure why anyone would ever want to go back.

    The way Lucky familiar with Taris, and the vastly differing quality of his gear make me think he's from the old republic (god, SW needs new descriptors for their governmental bodies, rather than calling every group of good-guys "the republic" and every group of baddies "The Empire") making him a great deal older than either of them believe.
    To the tune of three and a half thousand years.

    Old Republic Troopers weren't clones though, and he does mention Taris being a city-wide planet "a couple of thousand years ago" (swtor takes place only 300 years after the destruction of taris) and he talks about separatists.

    Nah, I guess not. He's probably just a clone trooper from the clone wars. Still, it'd have been a neat twist.

    Oh, one more thing.
    How the hell did Lucky make a set of armour for Rena? Apparently it's superior to Stormtrooper gear, and expertly tailored to fit her.
    This despite being made in the field, with looted materials and presumably by hand.
     
  15. Jackie

    Jackie Of Ice and Fire

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    Because clones had to battlefield repair their own armor, and Star Wars tech makes re-purposing materials pretty quick and easy.

    As to how he made it fit her, he had her old armor as a template. Since she's a lot smaller than a storm trooper and he had more armor to work with, he could just layer and reinforce it at key points.

    he didn't make it from scratch, he canabalized storm trooper armor.

    Anyway, It's only meant to be superior to her original flight gear.
     
  16. iamnuff

    iamnuff Well worn.

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    Bit of a difference between repairing a preexisting set of armour (which is basically a patch-job) and ripping apart a set and rebuilding it from the ground up, which is probably the only way to take a set made for a grown man and make it fit a young girl, while also improving the armouring.

    The fact that it fit better than what she was already wearing makes it sound like he actually tailored it to fit her.
     
  17. Jackie

    Jackie Of Ice and Fire

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    Well sure but why wouldn't he have that skill? Clones were all the same but Jedi came in all shapes and sizes. There's no reason to assume he wouldn't be able to do it.
     
  18. iamnuff

    iamnuff Well worn.

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    Because clone armour is made of plasteel or some other hard material? It's not like adjusting the stitching in a shirt, it's armour.

    Creating a tailor-made set of armour requires precise measurements, delicate electronics and probably an entire workshop of specialized tools to actually shape the thing.

    Not something you can do on-the-fly while in hostile territory.
     
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  19. Jarudazuigu

    Jarudazuigu Sealed, for now

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    Perhaps Lucky used immortal duck tape and cut to size parts of stormtrooper armor on her old jumpsuit? She is no expert so she didn't notice it's almost patchwork.

    Also, girl is a Old Style Sith. Before the insanity of One Mastah, One Aprentice. Because it was when Sith code turned from "Use Dark Side" to "Bwa, Ha, Ha! Puppy killing!".
     
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